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

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...

Other books by Melvin Burgess

The Lost Witch

The Lost Witch

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

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.

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.

Lady My Life as a Bitch

Lady My Life as a Bitch

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2015

If you gotta be a dog, be a bitch. Sandra Francy is seventeen and under pressure - pressure to be good and work hard at school. But she's fed up with all that. She's been having fun, running wild - some say too wild. Then she gets turned into a dog. She's frightened at first, but she quickly realises there are pleasures she hardly knew existed. Is being human worth all the effort?

Persist

Persist

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2015

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+

Doing It

Doing It

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

Dino's girlfriend won't give him what he wants. Jonathon is afraid of what his mates will think of the girl he likes. And Ben is having extra lessons from his sexy teacher. Three seventeen-year-old boys discover sex for the first time: but do they really know what they're doing?

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...

Billy Elliot Book + CD

Billy Elliot Book + CD

Author: Melvin Burgess, Noemie Camara, Cecilia Bembibre Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 02/01/2014

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.

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?

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/04/2008

Billy's mother is dead, and his father and brother are fiercely involved in a bitter miners' fight that has split the local community. Billy's father wants his son to learn boxing, like he did and his father before him. But Billy is fascinated by the grace and magic of ballet and is determined to dance his way to a different future...This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60 per cent of the author's work and as low as 30 per cent with characters and plotlines removed.

Bloodsong

Bloodsong

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

Doing It

Doing It

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: eBook Release Date: 17/10/2006

Dino, Jon, and Ben have each got problemsa girlfriend who won't put out, a girlfriend who won't give up, and a predatory teacher . . . just for starters. Award-winning author Melvin Burgess has written a daringly honest and often hilarious account of contemporary teenage life, and the ups and downs that surround Doing It.

Sara's Face

Sara's Face

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2006

Sara is going to have a face transplant. She has allowed herself to be drawn into the orbit of a highly manipulative and ruthless pop-star. He is going to take her discarded face to cover his own scarred and damaged one. But as the time of the operation approaches, those closest to her suspect that Sara is changing her mind. Is she being pressured into it? Is the wealthy pop-star her benefactor - or her gaoler?

Bloodsong

Bloodsong

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2005

Sigurd has a fabulous but frightening future predicted: even to start, he must leave everything he knows to go and fight a dragon, and from there descend into the Underworld. Sounds bad enough, but when you know that the dragon lives on a futuristic, industrially-ruined moonscape that was once Hampstead Heath, the scene is set for a staggeringly brutal fight on an epic scale. Unhappily for him, he meets the love of his life in the underworld, and Sigurd's efforts to rescue his lover will cause huge heartache and grief for both of them, and also for everyone who ever meets them.

Ghost Behind the Wall

Ghost Behind the Wall

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: eBook Release Date: 01/04/2003

Award-winning author Melvin Burgess's thrilling new ghost story for younger readers.David screamed and the ghostly boy opened his mouth and screamed back. But his scream wasn't the scream of a child-it was the scream of an old, old man."e;Come back, come back,"e; screamed the ghost in his cracked old voice. "e;Don't leave me. Don't go!"e;Twelve-year-old David lives with his dad in a big old apartment building called Mahogany Villas. When he discovers he can climb through the vent pipes in the building and get into other apartments and play tricks on people, he simply can't resist.His main victim is Robert Alveston, a forgetful man in his nineties who is afraid that he is losing his mind. But David's nasty pranks soon disturb more than his elderly neighbor. One day he comes face-to-face with a ghost, at first friendly but more and more terrifying as it becomes clear that he has a particular grudge against Mr Alveston. Soon both the old man and David are in great danger."e;An ultimately poignant adventure that will captivate British author Burgess' fans."e; - Booklist

Robbers on the Road

Robbers on the Road

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2003

An exciting tale, narrated from two very different perspectives, about two boys' efforts to become highwaymen to fool their school teacher. Further danger lies in store when they realize that they've strayed on to another robber's patch...By turns funny and thrilling - with an brilliant twist in the tale - this has all the hallmarks of a classic Melvin Burgess story. In addition, it's a story that explores a fast-changing period of history, and brings it vividly to life. As Melvin Burgess notes, 'Tensions between Britain and Spain were high, political talk was all of spies and treachery and war. Religion was a big issue - you could be imprisoned or worse for following the wrong faith.'

Lady

Lady

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: eBook Release Date: 01/05/2002

If you gotta be a dog, be a bitch."e;My tail was going bananas as I rounded the corner and headed into Platt Fields park. The pavement was alive; my nose was an eye that sees into the past. I speeded up. Oh, I was in love with Terry, but to run and sniff and feel my ears catching sounds out of the air! But what do you know? Only a dog could understand what I mean."e;Sandra Francy is seventeen and having way too much fun. Everyone wants to stop her but the problem is, she likes it. When she accidentally gets turned into a dog she's horrified at first, but soon she starts to wonder if being human is worth the effort. Her attempts to hang on to her humanity are bizarre and often hilarious-but her life as a dog leads her to pleasures she hardly knew existed.Award-winning author Melvin Burgess brilliantly captures the realities of teenage life and hormone imbalance.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2002

Billy Elliot's not like his Dad. He doesn't want to learn boxing. He's not cut out to be a miner. But when he stumbles across a ballet class and discovers he's a natural, he realises what he does want to do. This is Billy's gritty and determined struggle, at first in secret, but then with the wholehearted backing of his family, to dance his way to a different future.

Lady My Life as a Bitch

Lady My Life as a Bitch

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2001

A flirtatious, confident and rebellious teenager is transformed into an understandably confused and frightened dog by a tramp with magical powers. Sandra has a lot of growing up to do, quickly, to survive as a scrounging stray in a competitive and rough dog's world. She must do the clearest thinking of her life to work out whether she wants to recover her humanity, and if so, how to do it. This is doubly difficult as the brain she must think with is reduced to the scattered consciousness of a dog and the reality of the situation poses enormous problems as she finds herself experiencing all the physical aspects of being a dog, including running with a pack and going on heat.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2001

Billy Elliot's tough, funny and heart-warming story is given new depth by best-selling author, Melvin Burgess. Billy's mother is dead, and his father and brother are fiercely involved in a bitter miners' fight that has split the local community. Billy's father wants his son to learn boxing, like he did and his father before him. But Billy is fascinated by the grace and magic of ballet and is determined to dance his way to a different future. Told from the differing viewpoints of Billy, his father and brother and his friend Michael, Melvin Burgess has captured the spirit of the original film screenplay while demonstrating the skill and inspiration he showed in his award-winning novel, Junk.

Bloodtide

Bloodtide

Author: Melvin Burgess Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/10/1999

In the year 2300 London is in ruins and in the hands of two warring families of ganglords, the Volsons and the Conors. To cement a truce Val Volson offers Conor the hand of his daughter Silivia, to her horror. The wedding is disrupted a msterious one-eyed prisoner who has been hanging upside down in a glass elevator shaft overlooking the banquet. The superstitious people are in no doubt that he is the god Odin and they watch in terror as he challenges themto see who can remove the special knife from the lift shaft. It is Silvia's twin brother who claims the knife and then returns to Conor. Val is killed and the three sons perish but Siggy is saved by Melanie, a pigwoman, though he has lsot Odin's knife to Conor in battle. In order to stop Silvia avenging her family's death, Conor has her legs broken to keep her prisoner, But Silvia has an ally in Cherry, a cat and shape-changer devoted to her mistress and together they plan the downfall of Conor, a plan that will also involve Siggy in taking a terrible revenge. . . .

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