Melvin Burgess biography

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Melvin Burgess
Photo: John Coombes

Melvin Burgess

Melvin Burgess Biography

Melvin Burgess was born 25 April 1954, and is a British writer of children's fiction is best known as the author of Junk - one of the most acclaimed and controversial books for young people ever to have been written. Neither the fact that Melvin came to write Junk, nor its resulting success surprised those already familiar with his work. "This writer involves the reader (and) plays havoc with the emotions," observed Wendy Cooling long before the controversy over Junk began.

His debut novel The Cry of the Wolf had prompted author Robert Westall to say, "As the shocker of the seventies, I'd like to say hello to the shocker of the nineties...". The Cry of the Wolf was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, as were Burgess's later titles: An Angel For May, The Baby and Fly Pie and The Ghost Behind the Wall. Fly Pie, a thriller in which a group of street children get involved in a baby kidnap, provided a clear signpost to the road that Burgess was travelling; the road that would lead to Junk, Bloodtide and Lady: My Life as a Bitch (Described by The Guardian as "...a book about a teenage girl who embarks on a rampant sexual odyssey on the eve of her GCSEs.")

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. He moved to London in 1983 and began a small business marbling fabrics for the fashion industry.

Melvin no lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, with his partner Anita, and writes full-time.

Melvin Burgess's website

This bio was last updated on 03/11/2014. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Books by Melvin Burgess at BookBrowse
The Hit jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Melvin Burgess but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Jesse Ball

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    If you enjoyed:
    The Hit

    Try:
    How to Set a Fire and Why
    by Jesse Ball

  • Suzanne Collins

    Suzanne Collins

    In 1991, Suzanne Collins began her professional career writing for children's television. She worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Hit

    Try:
    Mockingjay
    by Suzanne Collins

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