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Melvin Burgess - Author

About the Author

Melvin Burgess was brought up in Sussex and Berkshire.  As a child, his reading included The Wind in the Willows and Gerald Durrell's animal stories. He went on to enjoy The Hobbit and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books. A generally unconfident student, he became interested in writing when he was twelve and an English teacher praised one of his stories  - "it was about the first time I'd ever done anything that got an A. I was so pleased I never stopped."  After leaving school, Melvin moved to Bristol  where he worked on occasional jobs, mainly in the building industry, and was often unemployed.  He started writing in his twenties and wrote on and off for the next fifteen years before The Cry of the Wolf was published in 1990. He moved to London in 1983 and began a small business marbling fabrics for the fashion industry. In 1997 his controversial bestseller Junk won the  Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal. It was also shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year. Four of his novels have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. 

Melvin Burgess is regarded as one of the best writers in contemporary children's literature. In 1997, his controversial bestseller Junk won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal. It was also shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year. Four of his novels have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Melvin lives in Hebden Bridge with his partner.

Photo credit: John Coombes

Featured books by Melvin Burgess

Junk

Junk

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2021

Gemma runs away from home to join her boyfriend, Tar in London. Soon they find themselves hooked on heroin and Gemma is forced into prostitution to pay for the drug.

eBooks of the Month
Sara's Face

Sara's Face

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2017

Special 11th Anniversary Edition. As ever, Melvin Burgess makes readers think. Sara signs up for a face transplant but is it her who wants it or, is she being pushed into doing it against her will by the scarred pop-star who wants her face? Glamour and fame are not always what they seem. ~ Julia Eccleshare Lovereading Comment: This is young adult fiction at its challenging and thrilling best - and Melvin Burgess has yet again struck a chord with a teenager’s world.  The issue of cosmetic surgery is brought sharply into focus and in such a way that the reader will feel more informed and as a result the ever present peer pressures which are a part of teenage life more keenly borne.

eBooks of the Month
Hunger

Hunger

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/01/2014

From acclaimed and controversial author, Melvin Burgess, a terrifying new Hammer Horror novella about a teenager and her relationship with a ghoul. When Beth wakes up one morning covered in dirt, she puts it down to an extreme case of sleep-walking. But when reports of a desecrated grave start to circulate, her night-time wanderings take on a sinister air. Soon the city is being plagued by strange sightings and sudden disappearances. Beth knows that something is changing within her. Something that's filling her with an urgent, desperate hunger that demands to be satisfied - at any cost...

eBooks of the Month
Bloodsong

Bloodsong

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2013

A sequel to Bloodtide, Bloodsong revisits the two families and their London setting. War has now wholly destroyed the city. Of the Volson’s, only fifteen year old Sigurd remains.  Defenceless without the knife given to his father by the gods and passed down to him, he must find a new weapon to fight with so that he can re-forge his country and unite it. Like the heroes from the sagas Sigurd is willing to risk everything to fulfil his destiny and succeed in his quest. Melvin Burgess creates an epic drama in a devastated world. 

eBooks of the Month
Bloodtide

Bloodtide

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2013

Award-winning Melvin Burgess packs an enormous punch in this gripping, brilliant and scarily dark futuristic saga. He shies away from nothing in his story of the Volsons and the Connors, two powerful families whose gangs control London, fighting to the death for their rights to rule. When a marriage between Val Volson’s daughter Signy and the Conor is arranged as a way of creating a truce there is a brief moment of hope. But treachery and trickery of the cruellest kind soon destroy any possibility of a lasting peace. From the moment that Signy is so cruelly crippled she plots her revenge and nothing will hold her back from taking it. Drawing on the Icelandic sagas and emulating their darkness, Burgess creates a story that is rich in its understanding of the deepest emotional powers that draw people together and those that drive them apart.

eBooks of the Month
The Hit

The Hit

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2013

Award-winning Melvin Burgess sets out a thrilling proposal: what if there were a drug which gave you the chance to have the very best time of your life for one week after which it was known that you would die. Would you take it? Adam’s life is rubbish – especially after his brother disappears. His family has no money, he has no job, society is shot to pieces. Why not end it all and have the ultimate high before he goes? As always, Burgess raises questions that matter a lot to teenagers giving much to think about, all wrapped up in a highly charged, action packed thriller.   A Piece of Passion from the Publisher, Barry Cunningham   I can’t help making this personal. What would be on my list if I had a week to live? Er … it’s almost easy.But then I think of the people I’d never see again, the things I’d never do. (Anyway, no one can eat that many lobsters.) Melvin Burgess brilliantly brings home theconsequences of a momentous choice – to a world that feels like the day after tomorrow, where love, sex, crime and revolution all swing into play. It’s intimate, thrilling and intense. Like life itself. .......................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Hit a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'A race against time, a lost cause, a crazy, extremist-ridden world and a strong brotherly love combine to make this one of the best books I've read. I strongly recommend it for any teen looking for a book with a subtle, cleverly wrought twist'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...

eBooks of the Month
Nicholas Dane

Nicholas Dane

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 02/05/2011

Als Nicholas' Mutter stirbt, muss er von einem Tag auf den anderen ins Heim. Dort herrschen Disziplin, Unterdruckung und brutale Gewalt. Doch noch schlimmer als die prugelnden Lehrer ist der Heimleiter Mr Creal, der den Jugendlichen mit groer Freundlichkeit begegnet - um sie dann zu missbrauchen. Mit allem Stolz und aller Selbstachtung, die Nicholas noch hat, wagt er die Flucht aus dem Heim. Schonungslos, doch mit groem Einfhlungsvermgen und ohne jeglichen Voyeurismus beschreibt Melvin Burgess, wie Nicholas es schlielich trotz allem in ein normales Leben zurck schafft - und wie fr viele Leidensgenossen auch Jahre spter die Spirale der Gewalt kein Ende findet.

eBooks of the Month
Kill All Enemies

Kill All Enemies

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 26/02/2015

Diese Kids bedeuten Arger, ganz klar! Ganz klar? Billie drischt auf alles ein - sogar ihre Pflegeeltern furchten sich vor ihr. Doch ihre Betreuerin sieht ein Madchen, das nichts als Abweisung kennt! Rob walzt mit seiner schieren Masse jeden platt - er ist der geborene Bully. Doch sein Stiefvater sieht ein perfektes Opfer fur seine Wutausbruche! Chris ist faul und streikt im Unterricht - seit Jahren macht er keine Hausaufgaben. Doch sein wahres Problem sieht kein Mensch! Denn jede Geschichte hat zwei Seiten. Welche davon glaubst du? --- In "e;Kill All Enemies"e; erzahlt der preisgekronte Autor Melvin Burgess von drei Jugendlichen in Schwierigkeiten, von Wut und Verletzlichkeit, von Schwache und Starke und von Freundschaft, Hoffnung und der Grundung einer Band. --- Ein echter Burgess: realistisch, authentisch und ganz nah dran.

eBooks of the Month
The Lost Witch

The Lost Witch

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2020

Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can - creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch. They warn her she is being hunted. Her parents think she is hallucinating and needs help. All Bea wants to do is get on with her life, and to get closer to Lars, the mysterious young man she has met at the skate park. But her life is in danger, and she must break free. The question is - who can she trust? Carnegie Medal-winner Melvin Burgess returns with a powerful, thrilling fantasy for young adults about magic, myth and following your instincts.

Other books by Melvin Burgess

Count

Count

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/10/2021

Brandon is a boaster - he says he is brilliant at lots of things. Then he is challenged to count up to ten million. So Brandon starts: one, two, three . . . and before long he is up to one thousand. Everyone around him is bewildered and annoyed: his friend Waris, his teachers and Miss Hexx, the head. But Brandon can't stop counting. And the higher he counts, the more everyone takes an interest, when Brandon reaches 30,000 he goes viral, by the time he gets to one million, he has a manager and a stadium full of fans counting with him. And then strange, impossible things start happening. The numbers are taking over everything . . . A fun and contemporary story about rise and fall of celebrity, and ultimately staying true to yourself.

Three Bullets

Three Bullets

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/07/2021

The Bloods are in control and they're desperate to turn Britain into the world they want to see: right, white, Christian supremist. Anyone who they call abnormal is a target. Amidst the chaos of civil war the country is on the move as small militia groups fight each other and a sea of refugees escapes the cities and the pursuing Bloods. When her home is destroyed in a bombing raid, Marti must strike out on a mission of her own - to save her father and get his vital software into the right hands. But Marti is mixed race and trans and has her young brother in tow. Crossing into enemy territory could prove suicidal. Yet Marti's enemies haven't reckoned with her indomitable will to survive - and the gun she carries, which has three bullets . . .

Billy Elliot (2020 reissue)

Billy Elliot (2020 reissue)

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2020

Based on the screenplay of the renowned film and musical! Billy Elliot is growing up in a struggling coal-mining town in Yorkshire. His father wants him to learn to box, like he did, but Billy has other ideas. Encouraged in secret by a local teacher, he's determined to dance his way to a different future ...

The Lost Witch

The Lost Witch

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/08/2018

Contemporary teenage life and the supernatural combined in a dark tale of freedom and coercion |   On the surface, this is a story about a girl who discovers she's a witch, in a world where that is a highly dangerous thing to be.  But it's contemporary life that really fascinates Melvin Burgess and this is as much a story of growing up and independence as it is a story of dark magic. It also contains a thoroughly disturbing dissection of coercion and control as central character Bea is manipulated into doing things that cause irrevocable harm to herself and others. The book opens with Bea and her family returning home after a day out. Crossing the moors they run into The Hunt, violent supernatural creatures tracking and attacking other witches. Bea is able to stop them, powerfully summoning help but revealing her supernatural ability at the same time. With the awakening of her witch nature, the world becomes a different place, more beautiful but more frightening as she is surrounded by visions that only she can see. Befriended by other witches she is given a terrible choice: safety and freedom with them means she must leave her own human family for ever. Under pressure from her parents she decides to give up her new powers for a 'normal' life, but is snatched away at the last minute by the wild boy she is beginning to love - is it a rescue, or an abduction? It's typical of Burgess that the book raises so many questions about temptation and individual choice, freedom and responsibility; typical too that the consequences of Bea's decisions are shown to be so painful, and permanent. Powerful, uncompromising reading. ~ Andrea Reece

Copper Treasure

Copper Treasure

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 13/10/2015

From the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of Smack comes a middle-grade tale of adventure and cunning in the spirit of Treasure IslandVictorian London in the 1850's: Jamie, Ten Tons and Davies are young "e;mudlarks"e;--scavengers who eke out a meager existence by reclaiming bits of coal, rope, and anything of value from the muddy banks of the River Thames. Anything they find might keep them from starving for one more day.When they see a massive roll of copper fall off a ship, the trio comes up with a daring plan to retrieve it and make their fortunes. But can three small boys alone retrieve the impossibly heavy copper from the bottom of the Thames? They resolve to find a way--or die trying.

Persist

Persist

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2015

A haunting, powerful drama from Carnegie Medalist Melvin Burgess. A girl in a coma. A desperate mother. Marianne has been absent from her own life for so long that even her mother's unwavering faith is starting to tremble. But Marianne, floating in her own world, is starting to remember who she is - and the sad woman that visits every day. Can they both persist long enough to find a way back to one another? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+

Death

Death

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 21/02/2014

Death ist Kult. Jeder spricht uber die neue Droge. Wer sie nimmt, hat die beste Zeit seines Lebens. Den ultimativen Hohenflug. Den absoluten Kick. Es gibt keine Grenzen, alles ist moglich - eine Woche lang. Den achten Tag erlebt man nicht. Denn Death ist todlich. Soll Adam die kleine Pille schlucken? Sein Bruder ist tot, bei dem Mdchen, in das er verliebt ist, hat er keine Chance und seine Zukunftsaussichten sind alles andere als rosig. Adam glaubt, dass er nichts zu verlieren hat. Und die beste Woche seines Lebens ist greifbar nah.

An Angel For May

An Angel For May

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/02/2013

Tam is unhappy at home and often takes refuge in the ruins of Thowt It Farm. But then one day he is transported back to the Second World War. Alone and afraid, he makes friends with May, who has been rescued from a bombed-out house. She tries to persuade him to stay at the farm, but Tam is afraid of being trapped in the past forever.

The Baby and Fly Pie

The Baby and Fly Pie

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2012

'We're the rubbish kids, losers and orphans. Everyday we go out on to the Tip to sort rubbish for Mother Shelly.' For Sham, Fly Pie and his sister Jane, this is the grim reality of their lives. Then one day everything changes when they find a baby on the Tip - a baby worth seventeen million pounds . . . This discovery takes them into a savage, lonely city and so begins an endless fight for survival.

Junk

Junk

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 23/05/2012

Tar und Gemma wollen zu Hause raus: Tar hat nur Arger mit seinem trinkenden Vater und Gemma erstickt in Spieigkeit. Sie hauen ab nach Bristol und landen in der coolen Szene: Partys, gute Leute - und Drogen. Tar und Gemma lassen sich mitziehen, sie sind sicher, dass sie jederzeit aufhoren konnen ...

Schlachten

Schlachten

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Ebook Release Date: 23/05/2012

London in der Zukunft. Die Stadt besteht nur noch aus Ruinen und zwei verfeindete Clans kampfen um die Vorherrschaft: Die Volsons und die Conors. Um die Stadt endlich wieder zu vereinen und zu neuer Starke zu fuhren, verheiratet Val Volson seine 14-jahrige Tochter Signy mit seinem Erzfeind Conor. Doch Conor nutzt die Gunst der Stunde und lasst den Clan der Volsons kurzerhand ausloschen. Nur Signy darf weiterleben und hat fortan nur noch ein Ziel: Rache.

Burning Issy

Burning Issy

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/02/2012

'Are you frightened of dying, Issy?' Issy doesn't know where she came from or who she is. Night after night, she has the same nightmare: she burns in a fire and at the heart of the flames is a face she dare not look at. Fear and superstition are everywhere. She must run - from the Witch-finder, from the evil hag who wants her, from those she loves and maybe even from her own true nature...

The Cry of the Wolf

The Cry of the Wolf

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2011

It was a mistake for Ben to tell the Hunter that there were still wolves in Surrey. For the Hunter was a fanatic, always on the lookout for unusual prey. Driven by an ambition to wipe out the last English wolves, the Hunter set out on a savage quest. But what happens when the Hunter becomes the hunted?

Kill All Enemies

Kill All Enemies

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2011

A brilliant, intense and important book for everyone who cares about the real lives of many young people. The award winning author of Junk, Melvin Burgess, is at his very best in this hard hitting and deeply touching story about Billie, Rob and Chris, three fourteen year olds who have nothing in common except that they have fallen outside the normal rules of teenage life. Why? Each tells their own story. Mostly sad, often shocking and frequently funny too, through these firsthand accounts Burgess gripping reveals how life really is for some young people.

eBooks of the Month
Nicholas Dane

Nicholas Dane

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/06/2009

Carnegie-prize winning author, Melvin Burgess, has written a long-awaited new novel.  This compelling story of a teenager caught in a corrupt 1980s care home is a powerful study of a particularly highly charged and distressing subject and one that is frighteningly topical now 30 years later.  Handled with great sensitivity and engrossing narrative drive, Nicholas Dane is an important addition to the understanding of how teenage lives can go so wrong.

eBooks of the Month
Bloodsong

Bloodsong

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2007

Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess