Tag Archives: Melvin Burgess

Giveaway – Day 12 – Mal Peet & Melvin Burgess

Only 3 days left until we throw open the gates of Dairy Meadows and welcome you all in!

In anticipation of all the jollity to come we’ve got books and tickets to giveaway here everyday right up until the festival.  Each day will bring a new pair of star writers, and a new chance to win tickets to see them at Hay along with copies of their latest/biggest/most phenomenal books (full T&Cs below).

Today’s acclaimed writers are Mal Peet and Melvin Burgess.

Mal and Melvin, two of the leading lights in YA Fiction, aren’t afraid of the truth.  In their latest work, Life: An Exploded Diagram and Kill All Enemies, they touch upon searing issues with a blend of feather-like sensitivity and raw honesty.

To be in with a chance to win leave us a comment telling us your favourite city.

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions

  • The competition is organised by Hay Festival.
  • Entry to this competition is open to everyone except Hay Festival employees and their close relatives.
  • Entrants must write a comment on the topic requested in order to qualify.
  • The personal data provided will only be used for the purposes of administering the competition.
  • The competition launches on Saturday 19 May 2012 and closes on Friday 31 May 2012 17:30. Submissions received outside of this timeframe will not be considered, so please do not wait until the last minute to upload your entry.
  • Only one entry, per person, per blog post is permitted. If more than one entry is submitted, only the entrant’s first submission will be considered.
  • Entries will be selected at random 48 hours after the post is published and winners will be notified on email.
  • Each goody bag will contain two books and two pairs of tickets, one child and one adult ticket for each event.  Prizes will be made available for collection from the festival Box Office.
  • Hay Festival reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions or cancel this competition at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  • These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England and Wales.
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Celia Rees: It is important to tell it like it is

I first visited Hay-on-Wye as a reader, to visit the bookshops. I attended my first Festival in 1990. By then, I’d begun writing and I went, as many would-be writers do, to hear authors whom I admired talking about their work, and maybe hoping for insights and inspiration, that a little of their star dust would rub off on me, too. I remember going to hear Philippa Gregory talking about writing historical fiction.  I was there as a reader, because I admired her work, I never thought that one day I would be writing historical fiction myself, still less that I would be appearing at the same Festival. She is at Hay this year talking about her new novel for young adults, The Changeling.

To be invited to appear at Hay is always very special. The first time that I was invited, in 2000, it felt as if I’d reached some kind of personal milestone since that first visit when it was a dream to even be published. I’ve appeared several times since then, sometimes on my own, sometimes with other authors, like John Boyne, Beverley Naidoo and Sally Gardner. I also like to go and see other writers. I still find it interesting to hear writers talking about their work and when it is Margaret Atwood or Ian McEwan, I’m as star struck as anyone else in the audience.

This year, I’m appearing with Melvin Burgess and I’ll be talking about young adult fiction and my new book, This Is Not Forgiveness. It is a hard-hitting thriller for older teenagers, dealing with life as it is lived now: difficult relationships, disastrously misplaced idealism and the impact on ordinary lives of the war in Afghanistan. When I first came to the Festival, I was writing a contemporary thriller for teenagers. I believed then, as I do now, that there has to be a place for a literature that is adult in all but the ages of its protagonists. That’s why I’m looking forward to sharing a platform with Melvin Burgess.  He is a writer I admire for the uncompromising stance he has taken in his teenage fiction from his ground-breaking novel Junk, to his latest, Kill All Enemies and he is as robust and honest in conversation as he is on the page. He and I share a belief that it is important to tell it like it is, to reflect the realities of teenage life in Britain today, however harsh or unpalatable, and not to fudge, compromise, or invent happy endings when they aren’t going to happen. We believe that young adults deserve a literature that seeks to examine modern life in all its difficult, baffling complexity and not to assume that some things just aren’t ‘suitable’, or to retreat into a never world of unrealistic heroics, one bound and you are free.

Whether you agree, or disagree, come and join us. It should be a very lively session!

Catch Celia at the festival on Saturday 9 June, 7pm.

To find out more visit Celia’s Facebook or website.

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Guest Post from Melvin Burgess

The Hay Fever Blog is delighted to welcome the brilliant Melvin Burgess to its pages, as he completes a whistle stop tour of the blogosphere to celebrate the publication of Kill All Enemies.


Down by the Corn Exchange in Leeds was a place for teenagers to hang out for ages. They’ve been turfed away these days – the Corn Exchange has been opened up as a select shopping precinct and restaurant. The kids – as usual – get no where to go. Even hanging out is hard when you have no money to spend.

Still today you can see a few kids – oddballs usually, the Goths, the Metal heads, the punks – hanging around the steps, although the management don’t like it. Back when I was doing my research for KAE there were many more. You could see people hanging out there any day of the week, but it was on a Saturday that it really came into its own. On the steps, and behind the Corn Exchange, and along the Canal there, you’d get dozens of kids, from early teens to early twenties, talking, hanging out and parading up and down in all their finery and glory. Quite a sight back then.

My friend Debbie Moody, who works for Leeds Libraries put me in touch with Deeta, who worked at that time as a kind of mobile youth. Every Saturday she’d be there, walking up and down the streets behind the Corn Exchange, chatting and watching out for the young people who were out to socialise. She introduced to me a few of people who hung out round there, and in particular, she introduced me to Kill All Enemies – the band that gave their name to my book.

There were four in the. Big lads. Tough looking lads, in their late teens and early twenties. Long hair, jeans, tattoos. A dodgy looking bunch. If you met these guys on the street late at night, you might well cross the road and skulk by on the other side.

I’ve met up with a few people over the years to get stories out of them. Lawyers, researchers, teachers, care workers, lecturers – you name it. Most people are happy to chat over a cup of tea, but every now and then, it feels right to take people out somewhere. Almost always, this is a meal. It’s a relaxed setting, you have time, you can chat about this and that. But somehow, with KAE, the restaurant option didn’t feel quite right. I gave them the option and as I expected, they went for a drink. So – one Saturday night I took a fistful of money out of the hole in the wall and set off down Leeds for my meeting in a scuzzy pub in the town center.

The boys were unbelievably honest. I can safely say, I wasn’t at all prepared for the stories they had lined up for me when I arrived.


Kill All Enemies blog tour will continue tomorrow over at The Book Smugglers

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