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Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure. During his filmmaking career he has worked as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world's leading climbers and expeditioners. His most notable film success was 'Summit Fever' in which Matt reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous North Face. His book The Death Zone tells the true story of that ascent and has become a bestseller in many different countries. Matt is currently Patron of Reading at the Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry and continues to climb and explore. In January 2013 he summitted Mount Aconcagua, which, at 6,965 metres, is the highest peak in the world outside the Himalaya. Currently, he is planning an ascent of Mount Denali in Alaska, one of the 'Seven Summits'. Recently Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers. His debut thriller series Mortal Chaos was well received by critics and readers alike. To celebrate the launch of The Everest Files Matt will be touring the UK, speaking at schools and colleges and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.
A Q&A with Matt about his new book Lie Kill Walk Away
Lie Kill Walk Away is very different to any of your other books. Two teenagers on the run, a government conspiracy and a life-threatening disease on the loose, make for some hard-hitting action. Have stories about secrets and twisted truths always captured your attention?
Ever since I began to read I have always loved thrillers. Fast pace and a twisty unpredictable plot make for exciting reading and I love that feeling when I find myself turning the pages at high speed, totally hooked on the story and wanting to find out more! Thrillers translate from book to film with a natural transition as well, so there’s often the extra dimension of seeing the story on the big screen later down the line and enjoying it all over again. Secrets are important in this genre so I wanted Lie Kill Walk Away to contain a powerful secret world. It was a great experience to fine-tune the plot of the book so that the secret powers of government hold all the cards, leaving my heroes Joe and Becca running for their lives.
Becca wants to be a natural scientist. Do you share her fascination with diseases?
I certainly am fascinated by the science of killer diseases, and have even made a documentary, which I filmed at one of the most lethal bio-weapon production labs in the world. To explore the abandoned base in Kazakhstan, where the Soviets had cooked up weaponised versions of some of the most horrifying pathogens ever invented, we had to make a clandestine journey deep into Voz Island in the middle of the Aral sea. That was where the Russians produced Anthrax, Ebola, and many other lethal pathogens that were designed for use in war. We had to wear bio-protection suits in forty-two degrees of heat. It was a very demanding shoot that could have ended in imprisonment if we had been discovered. The documentary I directed was broadcast by Channel 4 in the series Going to Extremes.
This book explores some difficult issues: a teen in a young offenders’ institution, young people groomed by a terrorist operation, mental illness. Do you think it’s important for young adult books to address these topics?
Teen and young adult writers have a duty to explore strong themes. The world is a challenging place and growing up is sometimes a difficult journey. As a father of five children (including two teenage kids at the moment!) I have experienced this first hand myself. That’s why thrillers such as Lie Kill Walk Away are important, because they tackle gritty issues head-on and don’t sugar coat the world. Books are a window into themes that are sometimes challenging but I don’t think authors should be apologising for that. It’s natural to explore the dark side of our inner world, and might even help in important ways.
Everybody knows you as the Everest climber – which is possibly the most extreme form of adventure there is – but did Lie Kill Walk Away allow you to explore a different kind of adventure?
Yes, probably I am best known for my Everest adventures, but I have plenty of other themes that I want to explore. In my previous series Mortal Chaos, I based the stories around chaos theory and the chain reactions that cause disasters. With Lie Kill Walk Away I wanted to create a very different form of adventure, a thriller environment in which two teenage protagonists are trying, quite literally, to save the world. It’s a big story but I have loved the challenge and I hope that readers will identify with my two heroes.
With fast-paced blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action, we think reluctant readers will love this book. Do you always have reluctant readers in mind when you are writing and how do you try to appeal to them?
I really like it when ‘reluctant readers’ identify with my books and enjoy reading them. It’s a special feeling because it might inspire a new reading hobby that will last a lifetime. ‘Reluctant readers' are often boys with short attention spans. That’s why my books have very short chapters and are generally fast paced. I am the same in my reading habits; I strongly dislike books that are overwritten or just way too slow.
December 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. A non-stop, action-packed, thrilling tale of a race to save humanity from a deadly virus. 15 year old Rebecca Eden and 16 year old Joe Fontana tell their own tales in alternate very short punchy chapters. Each has suffered heartache and each has experienced loss, yet dealt with it in very different ways. They meet in unusual circumstances and soon find themselves battling for their lives. The introduction set me on high alert, it took me a few seconds to understand what I was looking at, it was certainly intriguing and I immediately wanted to know more. Matt Dickinson doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, he exposes pain, corruption, loss, fear and meets them head on, yet with undeniable sensitivity. Well suited to both young men and women, ‘Lie Kill Walk Away’ is an exciting, adventurous and captivating tale. ~ Liz Robinson
An adventurous rescue attempt out on the north face of Everest, sits alongside the tale of a Tibetan family as they flee for their lives. ‘North Face’ is the second in ‘The Everest Files Series’ with 18 year old Ryan Hart finding himself once more fully immersed in the culture of his surroundings. The two separate stories blend into each other until they beat with one heart. Everest sits brooding, occasionally rumbling and roaring, ever present, ever mysterious. This is a fascinating story, all the more so, due to Matt Dickinson’s background, he has climbed Everest and he’s spent time with the local people, consequently Tashi’s tale in particular rings with truth. With evocative chapter heading illustrations, this is a simply told, yet dark tale that doesn't shy away from desperate deeds. Encouraging further research into the region, ‘North Face’ is not only thought provoking, it is also a completely captivating read.
Winner of the Biography of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the Outstanding Sports Writing of the Year Award at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the Football Book of the Year Award at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014. Immaculate footballer -- Imperial defender -- Immortal hero of 1966... National treasure -- Master of Wembley -- Lord of the game -- Captain extraordinary -- Gentleman for all time So reads the inscription beneath Bobby Moore's statue at Wembley stadium. Since his death at just 51 from pancreatic cancer, this has been the accepted view of a national hero. But how much do we really know of England's only World Cup-winning skipper? We all know that Bobby Moore was an extraordinary captain and defender, but alongside his legendary feats on the pitch he knew scandal, death threats, bankruptcy business and the sack. He divorced after a long affair, was rumoured to have friends in the East End underworld, and he loved a drink. The tragedy of his life was to be ignored by football in his latter years and to drift into obscurity. After he applied to be England manager, the FA didn't even bother to send a rejection letter. There was no job in the game and, famously, no knighthood. As well as the undeniable moments of glory, this long overdue, definitive biography won't shy away from the grit. Tracing his journey from the East End to a pedestal outside Wembley Stadium, it will, for the first time, look at Moore's life from all sides, through the testimony of teammates, rivals, family and friends. What was Moore like to play with, to drink with? What was he like as a husband, father, opponent, and captain? A struggling manager and a failed businessman? This book will tell the story of an Essex boy who became the patron saint of English football, revealing a lifetime of intrigue, triumph and tragedy in between.
A thrilling journey to the dark side of Everest, it follows 18-year-old Ryan Hart, on a gap year adventure working for a charity in Nepal. Dark forces are at play on the lethal slopes of the highest peak in the world, and Ryan sets out to solve it all. Mount Everest remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for its unpredictability. In the month that this is published in 2014, a large number of sherpas perished on the mountain, so this novel is incredibly timely. The Everest Files Series: 1. The Everest Files 2. North Face 3. Killer Storm Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
TIME-TRAVELLING SQUIRRELS? WHAT CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!? Genius inventor Fandango has given the Pop-O-Matic 3000 a time-travelling tweak and birthday girl Gertrude is about to get the gift of her dreams. Her very own dinosaur. That's the plan, but with the Popcorn-Eating Squirrels about, chaos is soon unleashed! Before you can say 'Triceratops', the squirrels are running amok 65 million years ago amongst the deadliest predators ever to roam the earth. There's a ravenous pack of Velociraptors to be dodged. A baby to rescue. A family to save. An asteroid to be deflected from its deadly collision course. It's all in a hungry day's work for the Popcorn-Eating Squirrels. And Salty gets his chance to be the (slightly reluctant) hero of the hour. So get your teeth into this bone-crunching adventure and join the squirrels on their craziest journey yet!
Liam loves visiting the local pet shop and is desperate to have his own snake. Then one day, Mr Nash, the owner of the shop, disappears. What has happened to Mr Nash? And how far will Liam go to get what he wants? This book is particularly suitable for adults who are new to reading (emergent reads). It includes 'What do you think?' questions at the end of each chapter.
Phytoplasmas are a group of bacteria that are capable of multiplying and causing severe diseases in a wide range of plant species and are transported between plants by insect vectors in which the bacteria can also multiply. Phytoplasmas can cause serious and devastating problems for crop plants, especially in developing countries. In Phytoplasmas: Methods and Protocols experts in the field cover topics pertinent to scientists intending to develop a research program on phytoplasmas. The volume opens with an introductory chapter on the importance of phytoplasma diseases, followed by methods for detection and diagnosis as well as techniques for separating and classifying the phytoplasmas into their different taxonomic groups and subgroups. The final chapters cover methods for separating phytoplasma genomic and plasmid DNA from plant DNA for whole genome sequencing. Written in the successful Methods in Molecular Biology (TM) series format, chapters include introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible protocols, and notes on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. Authoritative and easily accessible, Phytoplasmas: Methods and Protocols serves as an ideal guide to plant pathologists and molecular biologists aiming to set up a diagnostics facility for identifying the presence of these pathogens in plants or their insect vectors.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Immaculate footballer. Imperial defender. Immortal hero of 1966. Master of Wembley. Captain extraordinary. Gentleman of all time.' With these words, inscribed beneath the statue of England's World Cup-winning captain, the nation remembers Bobby Moore. But what do we really know about this iconic figure? Pele called him the greatest - and fairest - defender he ever played against. His feats for West Ham United and England are legendary and his technical mastery of the game years ahead of its time. Yet off the pitch, Moore knew scandal, bankruptcy, divorce and drink. He endured a string of business failures and maintained links with the East End underworld. Ignored by the football world post-retirement, this great of the game drifted into obscurity and, famously, was never honoured with a knighthood. Acclaimed football writer Matt Dickinson traces the journey of this Essex boy who became the patron saint of English football, peeling away the layers of legend and looking at Moore's life from all sides - in triumph, in failure, in full. 'This should be essential, sobering reading for anyone who cares about West Ham, England or English football' Metro
Project X Alien Adventures takes you on an incredible reading journey with this fantastic story featuring the popular Project X characters Max, Cat, Ant and Tiger. On the trail of the Weaver, Max, Cat, Ant and Tiger rip-jump to one of the most dangerous dimensions yet - a volcanic island. But Mount Inferno is not the only danger that awaits the micro-friends. Together they must escape from a wild pack of hyena-like creatures, find a way into Burner City and defeat the terrifying Mantis if they are to survive. Can they do it and find the thought vial they need? Carefully levelled and highly motivating, this book is ideal for independent reading. This book also contains notes on the inside front and back covers with advice on supporting older children with their reading, questions for readers, and a follow-up activity.
Deep beneath the Antarctic ice cap, scientist Lauren Burgess has discovered a secret that could change the face of human knowledge. Then a desperate mayday call comes in. Two explorers, one of them the legendary Julian Fitzgerald, are stranded out on the ice and a rescue is their only hope. Lauren puts the ground breaking scientific work on hold as she leads a dangerous rescue mission into the frozen void. But after returning to the base, the pressure of isolation gradually takes its toll on Fitzgerald and his true dark nature is revealed. Lauren and her scientific team must fight for their very lives. On the run with injured members of the team, sub-zero conditions and a madman on the loose, the odds are against them and time is running out, in Black Ice by Matt Dickinson.
'The Butterfly Effect ': the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people's lives . . . and end people's lives. From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds. This heart-stopping adventure by writer, film maker and climber Matt Dickinson will leave readers breathless. It's the book Jack Bauer would have read as a teenager!
'A ripping good adventure yarn with a thoroughly admirable heroine, a suitably black-hearted villain and such vivid descriptions of the sheer agony and awfulness of Antarctica you'll be reaching for the central heating switch as you read.' Irish Independent
It seemed like any other season on Mount Everest. Ten expeditions from around the world were preparing for their summit push, gathered together to try for mountaineering's ultimate prize. Twenty-four hours later, eight of those climbers were dead, victims of the most devastating storm ever to hit Everest. On the North face of the mountain, a British expedition found itself in the thick of the drama. Against all odds, film-maker Matt Dickinson and professional climber Alan Hinkes managed to battle through hurricane-force winds to reach the summit. In Death Zone, Matt Dickinson describes the extraordinary event that put the disaster on the front cover of Time and Newsweek. The desperate attempts of teams on the southern side of the mountain, fatal errors that led to the deaths of three Indian climbers on the North Ridge and the moving story of Rob Hall, the New Zealand guide who stayed with his stricken client, and paid with his life. Based on interviews with the surviving climbers and the first-hand experience of having lived through the killer storm, this gripping non-fiction book tackles issues at the very heart of mountaineering. Death Zone is an extraordinary story of human triumph, folly and disaster.