Please scroll down for author visit feedback. There is also a biography further down this page.
I very much enjoy visiting schools, libraries and so on - in fact I regard it as part of the job. My aim is the inspire a love for reading, books and stories of all kinds rather than to help fulfill the needs of the National Curriculum.
I do book talks and workshops for all High School ages. My books range from the recently issued books for younger students, aimed at Years 7 and 8, up to my more recent work for older readers, including Junk, and Kill All Enemies, and others.
I am more than happy to discuss content - I'm aware that many schools are wary about some of my books. Many schools, for example, do not want Doing It discussed in class. If you have issues or concerns about content, please email me and I'll be delighted to discuss it with you - I can be flexible if need be.
For more information, contact me at email@example.com
Talks and Workshops
Workshops last a minimum of one and half hours and I can do two in a day. I can do three one hour talks in a day.or some combination thereof. I'm always happy to meet students at lunch times and do signings and less formal meetings and chats alongside the main talks - email me and to discuss it online at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have had so much positive feedback from your talk; you made a great impression on the pupils. All the titles which I bought for the library have been in demand - quite a few of the boys, especially, interested in Nicholas Dane. And the staff have been at pains to tell me not only how much they enjoyed your tal.
I had hoped that I was going to be able to show you some press coverage of your visit but unfortunately they only printed one sentence of the report I sent and didn’t include a photograph. However, you have got reasonable coverage on our school website, which you can see here: http://menzieshill.ea.dundeecity.sch.uk/2011pages/MelvinBurgess.htm
I would also like to say how much I, personally, enjoyed the event. I have really enjoyed Nicholas Dane, and I had forgotten how chilling Sara’s face is – the perils of reading my niece’s copy in a great hurry. I expect however that I was the only person to appreciate your representation of Klaus!
Once again, thank you so much for a memorable afternoon. I look forward to hearing you, and perhaps meeting you, again in the future.
With very best wishes
I wanted to thank you so much for Monday. I have had many very positive comments about the events and your talks – very much enjoyed and very stimulating. We sold loads of books altogether – about 120, I think. People are still coming in to the Library to borrow and buy the books.
Jane Damesmith, Caterham School.
I was born in Sussex in 1954 - far too long ago. I was an extremely dreamy and shy child, and I used to used to wander round muttering to myself and playing games with imaginary friends. My parents had to shout - "He's in the land!" to explain to people why I apparently couldn't hear what they were saying to me. I did very badly at school - I was daydreaming too much to concentrate on anything much.. It wasn't until I was pretty nearly grown up that I started to think that the world around me might be at least as interesting as what was going on in my own head.
I did poorly at school, although occasionally teachers would think I had a lot of promise. In those days we had an exam called the eleven plus, which you did just before you went to High School. If you were a clever kid with a good brain, you passed and went to Grammar School to learn brainy things, and if you were a dumb kid, you failed and went to Secondary Modern School and learnt how to do things with your hands. I was a kid with hands. I went to Secondary Modern School.
I wasn't very happy at my new school. I remember having a lousy teacher there, who bawled me out for doing a story in a way she hadn't ordered - I'd done it as a diary. She was furious! - called me out in front of the whole class and made a fool of me. So, she got no good stories out of me. My parents moved again, to Reading in Berkshire. This new school was going comprehensive - children of all abilities were to go there. I got on much better there, due to one or two very good teachers who helped me along, but I was still a poor worker, and came away with two very bad A levels, in Biology and English. Mine was only the second year to do A levels - I'm sure, if they hadn;t been just gagging to let anyone do them, no one would have let me near the exams at all..
Life got rapidly better for me after I left school, but for the first few months I hadn't got a clue what to do. My dad eventually filled in an application form for a job as a journalist with the local newspaper. Somehow I got the job and went off to do a course for six months training.
The course was great - it was my only real time as a student - but by the end of it I had decided that I really wanted to write and that no other career would do. I packed in the job as soon as I got back home, much to the editor's disgust. "I think the saddest, thing, Melvin, is that you have deprived someone else of a career opportunity," he intoned. Then I got on with writing my first book, which, of course, no one wanted to publish.
For the next fifteen years, I wrote on and off, had casual jobs here and there, spent a lot of time out of work with not much to do, and I enjoyed myself enormously. I moved to Bristol after a couple of years where I lived until I was thirty. Inner-city Bristol was a great place to live, with a big racial and cultural mix. I learned a lot there and got my feeling for life. My book Junk is based on Bristol in those years, and although it is not biographical, you can pick up a lot of the atmosphere and meet a few of the people in its pages.
I was living in London aged about thirty five when I began to think it was time for me to really try hard to see if I could make writing work for me. I'd written a great deal off and on for years, a lot of it experimental, but I'd never really put getting published over writing what I felt like writing. So I had a a go - I did short stories, radio drama, and children's fiction. I had some success in all three, but my book The Cry of the Wolf, was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal. So that's what I've been doing ever since.
I now live in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, with my partner Anita.