Tag Archives: YA Fiction

Giveaway – Day 8 – Celia Rees & Annabel Pitcher

Only 7 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 awe-inspiring writers are Celia Rees & Annabel Pitcher.

Celia Rees, best known for her hauntingly memorable historical titles such as Witch Child, has taken on a brand new direction with contemporary thriller This Is Not Forgiveness.  Packing in love, betrayal, faith and violence Celia weaves a taut psychological drama that is perfect teen reading for the summer hols.  Annabel Pitcher’s debut, My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece, has been creating quite a buzz in the review pages and it’s not hard to see why.  With a unique sense honesty and clarity, this is a one-sitting book – you just won’t be able to put it down.  Both Celia and Annabel wrote lovely blog pieces for Hay Fever this month and we’re so looking forward to welcoming them to Hay.

To be in with a chance to win leave us a comment telling us the most dramatic thing to happen to you so far today.

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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Annabel Pitcher: My mum is beyond excited

I don’t know how time works for you, but in my head the year starts in September.  The other twelve months are divided into six-week chunks.  Half terms.  You see, even though I am no longer a teacher, I still think like one.  The rhythm of the school day is so ingrained that I feel compelled to work hard between the hours of 8.30am – 4pm with a break at 11am and lunch at 1pm. I am being completely serious. Old habits die hard.

Not that I am complaining. Though the best thing about being a teacher is the chance to work with young people, the holidays aren’t half bad either, and you’ll be pleased to know I still observe these religiously. So yes, I might put in longer hours than the average author during ‘term-time’, but you wouldn’t catch me writing a word during October half-term or Spring Bank.

Spring Bank has always been my favourite holiday – a sneak peek, trial run, unexpected week of summer before the long August break. What a treat it is as a pupil or teacher to have five free workdays at the end of May when the rest of the population is stuck behind desks in stuffy offices! I have so many memories of happy holidays with my parents during this time, and this one is going to be even more special than ever as I have been invited to talk at the Hay Festival. My mum is beyond excited. Seriously. My event lasts for an hour and she has booked a hotel for four days.

Technically, I suppose my talk counts as ‘work’ and therefore breaks my rule of doing sweet Sod All during the holidays, but it is work I am thrilled to do so we won’t worry too much about that. I feel truly honoured to have been invited to the festival, and look forward to chatting about My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece with people who have loved the book and those who are new to it.  It’s been over a year since my novel was published, so it will be great to spend Spring Bank with Jamie, Jasmine and Roger the cat, of course.

Which has just got me thinking: what do you reckon they would do on the first day of their holiday? Well, I think Jamie would be up early, pestering Jas to get out of bed. She would open one eye, growl some expletive and pull the duvet over her head so only her pink hair would be left poking out of the top. Deflated, Jamie would traipse outside with Roger, who would sit on his lap by the pond as he’d draw a picture of the morning sun on the mountains surrounding the cottage. Jas would emerge eventually, suggesting something wonderful to make up for her bad mood, perhaps a picnic in a field by a trickling river. Leo would turn up with his green hair and a bottle of flat lemonade, and when the weather turned, all three of them would climb into the back seat of his car to eat ham sandwiches and toast the Spring Bank as rain pounded against the windows.

Let’s hope for better weather on June 3! I look forward to seeing you all at 5.30pm on the Starlight Stage.

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Giveaway – Day 4 – Philippa Gregory & Maggie Stiefvater

Only 11 days left until we throw open the gates of Dairy Meadows and welcome you all in.

Maggie Stiefvater

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 pretty darn awesome writers are Philippa Gregory and Maggie Stiefvater.

Two stellar writers of YA fiction bookend the festival this year and boy are we stoked about their events.  Philippa will be revealing her very first foray into the YA market with The Changeling – a novel overflowing with mystery and intrigue. Maggie’s Shiver trilogy established her as a fan-girl favourite among readers in the UK and Stateside.  Her new stand alone novel, The Scorpio Races, takes her in a new direction, but has all her trademark warmth and wit.

Philippa Gregory

To be in with a chance to win leave us a comment telling us what magical power you would most like to have.

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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WARNING! Festival-goers Beware! Verity Fibbs is a Liar. And she’s coming to Hay.

I’m rubbish at telling lies. Oh, I can make stuff up no problem. You know, like outrageous, astonishing stuff that could never be true – I’m a writer of fiction, after all. But when it comes to credible delivery I just freeze. I can’t get an untruth past my lips without sweating and stuttering and chewing my hair.

I learnt this lesson while still fairly young, but not quite young enough. I cringe when I remember the whoppers I tried to get past my mum and my teachers – excuses for essays not written or forgotten PE kit, croaky assertions that I was ‘far too sick to go to this week’s piano lesson’, followed by a feeble cough. I was so unconvincing I’m surprised they didn’t collapse laughing.

Teenager Verity Fibbs doesn’t have that problem. She’s an expert. She can lie with such confidence that she’ll convince you red is green, cows fly and she’s a world authority on cheese-making. So I guess it’s a good thing I’m chaperoning her at the Hay Festival this year. Yes, her mum IS the famous fashion designer, Saffron Fibbs, but Verity is NOT allowed to do whatever she likes while her mum is in New York. She DOES look exactly like her mum, but it is NOT totally fine for Verity to pretend to be her at a celebrity nightspot to impress a boy.

Don’t believe anything she says.

You have been warned.

Cathy Brett, May 2012

Catch Cathy at the festival on Friday 8 June, 3:50pm

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Quests & Queens

Our merry band of young writers, The Scribblers, posed some particularly brilliant questions to some of the artists appearing at Hay this year.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you their answers. Making her debut in YA fiction this month with The Changeling, a big welcome to PHILIPPA GREGORY.

Describe your latest book in 5 words.

Dramatic quest to the unknown.

If you had to pick one of your characters to spend the day with, which one would you choose?

Robert Dudley from The Queen’s Fool  for great horse riding, and parties.

Which writer, dead or alive, you would like to collaborate with?

Shakespeare and go on holiday to Italy, and ask him did he travel there.

What’s the best thing about writing?

You are completely in control of everything, your hours, your workplace, and best of all the people you work with – all imaginary friends.

What’s your top tip for budding young writers?

Write the very best you can, don’t try to copy anyone, keep writing till you hear your own voice and listen for that.

Catch Philippa at the festival on Saturday 2 June at 10am

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Inner Shadows

Our merry band of young writers, The Scribblers, posed some particularly brilliant questions to some of the artists appearing at Hay this year.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you their answers. Today we’re really excited to be able to speak to MOIRA YOUNG.
Describe your latest book in 5 words.
Saba fights her inner shadows.
If you had to pick one of your characters to spend the day with, which one would you choose?
I love people who can spin a good yarn, so it would have to be Dr Salmo Slim, TPS (Travellatin Physician and Surgeon) from REBEL HEART, the sequel to BLOOD RED ROAD.

Which writer, dead or alive, you would like to collaborate with?
Charles Dickens, because he was so wonderfully theatrical.
What’s the best thing about writing?
Creating virtual worlds from my imagination is a wonderful, painful process. 
It’s a strange combination of self-discipline, craft, analysis, psychology, day dreaming, serendipity and alchemy, and it necessitates a great many long walks.

What’s your top tip for budding young writers?

Read, read, read.  The more the better.  And watch movies: good, bad and indifferent.  You can always learn something about how to tell a story.

Catch Moira Young at the festival on Friday 8 June at 5:30pm. She’ll be chatting all things dystopia with Julianna Baggott and Saci Lloyd.
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