Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Before I Die

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Before I Die

by Jenny Downham

Before I Die
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 336 pages
    May 2009, 336 pages

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About the Author
First time author Jenny Downham caused quite a stir with Before I Die, a novel targeted at teens with crossover appeal for adults in general. Publisher David Fickling (part of Random House), who also publish The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, are so enthusiastic about the book that they rushed the 2007 hardcover into press in a fraction of the time normally taken, and foreign rights have been sold in at least 11 languages .

According to a June 2007 article in the London Times, written a month before Before I Die published in the UK, nobody is more surprised by the buzz surrounding the book than Downham herself, a single mother living on benefits in a down-at-heel part of Hackney, east London. The Times describes her as "a small, slim 43-year-old, dressed inconspicuously in jeans and a blue anorak, she would attract few second glances ...

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