Friday, 27 March 2015

On the Edge with Herts Lit Fest at Rickmansworth Library!

Me and my shadow getting edgy down at the library …

Earlier this week I joined fellow Edge author Sara Grant for a Herts Lit Fest event at Rickmansworth Library with year 7 pupils from nearby St. Joan of Arc School. Here are a few photos from the day …

Karen Stephens introduces the students to all the
amazing FREE services on offer at the library.
Sara reading from her brilliant dystopian thriller HALF LIVES.
Thanks to Judi for this great graffiti wall.
After Sara and I had given the students a brief introduction to our books and a couple of readings, we reconvened for the Edge Graffiti Wall Panel. We were joined by librarians Judi and Melanie, and St Joan of Arc students Ella and Arfred to answer questions from the wall and the audience. 

We started by asking each panelist for a book recommendation. It was such an interesting and varied list, I thought I'd share it here:

Arfred: Russian Roulette (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz 
Dave: Riot by Sara Mussi
Ella: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sara: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Melanie: Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt
Judi: Trash by Andy Mulligan

The panel was a lot of fun, with some tricky questions and unexpected answers. Huge thanks to everyone involved, especially Ella and Arfred—it's always great (and valuable to us as writers) to hear young readers' opinions, especially their thoughts on books. 

Thanks also to Miss Turner and Miss Ryan for bringing the students to the library for the event; Karen Stephens for making it all happen; librarians Diane, Judi and Melanie, and Rickmansworth Library for being such welcoming hosts.

Finally, a special thank you to Melanie and the TRG (Teenage Reading Group) at the library who have been reading my novel Waiting for Gonzo and made these fantastic bookmarks. 

For more information, or to book The Edge for an event, please visit the Edge blog.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Look Hoo's Talking … About Books!

The Marquee at Luton Hoo Walled Garden, the venue for the event.

Author Jon Mayhew and I had a great time at the Hoo's Kids Book Fest "Look Hoo's Talking … about Books" Award event on Friday. 

Students from eight local schools spent the day discussing (and arguing!) the merits of each book on the shortlist, before settling down for a workshop by Jon, and a talk from me.

Congratulations to Phil Earle whose excellent book The Bubble Wrap Boy was chosen by the students as the winner. It was a real privilege to be in a room full of young people so passionate about books, and to hear their presentations for each of the shortlisted titles. 

Thanks to all the staff and students from Parmiter's School, Icknield High, Stopsley High, Hemel Hempstead School, Francis Combe Academy, Sacred Heart Primary and Tennyson Road Primary

Huge thanks also to Charlotte Cassella, Jayne Truran, Charmian Allwright, Liz Stratton, Bela Brown, Ellen Krajewski and Chorleywood Bookshop for making it all happen!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

UKYA Easter Egg Hunt!

Welcome to the UKYA Easter Egg Hunt—your chance to win a great bundle of signed books by over thirty Young Adult authors who write and live in the UK. 

All you have to do is read this post, count up the UKYA branded Easter eggs like this one (yes, this counts as number one!), and follow the link at the end to the next author. Keep going until you get back to the blog where you started, and add up how many eggs you’ve seen along the way. 

Email your answer to: A winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries, and contacted by email. The competition closes at noon (UK time) on Sunday, 5th April, and is open internationally. 

My contribution to the prize bundle will be a signed copy of my debut YA novel 15 Days Without a Head, plus a very limited edition, handmade, signed CD of the Waiting for Gonzo soundtrack

Now, I’d like to make it clear from the start that I’m a big fan of some of the excellent books from the States that are currently dominating the YA market. Unfortunately though, the huge amount of attention given to these titles in the media can somewhat overshadow publications from the UK. As a result, many great books fail to receive the recognition and readership they deserve. 

In an effort to redress the balance a little, I’d like to offer a few names to drop into your egg hunting basket alongside those chocolate treats. The list below is an incomplete and very personal UKYA roll of honour—books and writers who have enriched my life; offered companionship; new perspectives and ideas; helped me navigate a path through the turbulent teenage years and well beyond. Without these books I certainly wouldn't be a published author today.

Bog Child — Siobhan Dowd

Creepers — Keith Gray

Empty World — John Christopher

Exodus — Julie Bertagna

Fat Boy Swim — Catherine Forde

Fathom Five — Robert Westall

Geekhood — Andy Robb

Grinny — Nicholas Fisk

Henry Tumour — Anthony McGowan

Heroic — Phil Earle

Keeper — Mal Peet

Kill All Enemies — Melvin Burgess

Noughts & Crosses — Malorie Blackman

Riot — Sarah Mussi

The Road of the Dead — Kevin Brooks

Rowan the Strange — Julie Hearn

Storm Catchers — Tim Bowler

Thunder and Lightnings — Jan Mark

Wasted — Nicola Morgan

Sadly, a few of these books are now out of print, and their authors no longer with us, but there are many fantastic writers continuing their legacy, many of them included in this Easter Egg Hunt blog trail. I’m honoured to be among them and hope that my stories will play their own part in continuing the great tradition of UKYA. So, please go and count those eggs, but more importantly, I’m hoping you’ll pick up a few new favourite authors on the way.

Good luck and thanks for visiting.

Dave Cousins is the author of two award winning books for young adults—15 Days without a Head and Waiting for Gonzo have both been published worldwide in over 19 different languages. Dave is currently writing his third YA novel, due for publication by Oxford University Press in May 2016.