Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman was born in London to Caribbean immigrant parents in 1962. She is the first black writer to have sold more than a million copies of books in . She worked as a programmer, receptionist and salesperson, before publishing her literary début »Not so Stupid!« in 1990. Her repertoire spans first reader books, horror stories, TV scripts, stage plays, thrillers and novels for young adults. Among her most popular books is the diary of thirteen year old Cameron, who is in need of a heart transplant. Because human donor organs are so rare, Cameron and his desperate family have no choice but to opt for a genetically modified pig heart. »Pig-Heart Boy« (1997) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and the television adaptation was awarded the BAFTA Award (2000). Blackman develops her stories with uncompromising directness. Thus she is able to bring to life the heroes in her books – normal people in extraordinary situations – with great authenticity. Blackman described her motivation by saying, »what I always want to do is show what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes«. With forty-nine books manifesting her stylistic and thematic range, Malorie Blackman decided to write about the lasting impact of historical slavery, but with a twist. She unmasks day-to-day ethnic discrimination in the book »Noughts and Crosses« (2001), which was chosen by readers of »The Times« as one of the nation’s 100 all time favourite books. In this epic tour de force, she dissects racist mechanisms by turning stereotypes upside down. Callum is a white »nought«, a second class citizen who lives in a country where the black »crosses« are in charge. Sephy is a cross and the daughter of a powerful politician. Their friendship grows into a deep love that endangers both of them when the world is plunged into violence and terror. Blackman’s novels »Knife Edge« (2004) and »Checkmate« (2005) are equally impressive. In them she continues the story of Sephy, and the books make up a parable about love, hatred and hope. The series was received as a literary sensation in . »It has the dramatic art of ›Romeo and Juliet‹ and the timely political criticism of George Orwell’s ›1984‹«, »The Times« wrote. The Royal Shakespeare Company performed »Noughts and Crosses« on stage, and in November of 2008, the fourth volume, »Double Cross«, will be published.

To mark the two hundredth anniversary of the end of slavery in , Blackman published the much-noticed anthology »Unheard Voices« (2007). The author has been awarded the Sheffield Children’s Book Award (2002), the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (2004) and the Eleanor Farjeon Award (2005), among others. She lives with her husband and daughter in London .

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