All About Bali Rai
Bali Rai is the multiple award-winning author of over forty young adult, teen and children’s books. His edgy, boundary-pushing style is extremely popular and his books are widely taught. Passionate about promoting reading and literacy for young people, he is an ambassador for the Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead project, was involved in the BBC’s Love to Read campaign, and also speaks about issues around diversity, representation, and in defence of multiculturalism. Regularly invited to speak on panels and at conferences, he is also patron of an arts charity and a literature festival. Bali is a politics graduate and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate of letters. His first novel, (un)arranged marriage was published in 2001, and his most recent YA novel, Web of Darkness, won three awards and received widespread acclaim. He is currently working on a new YA title, as well as two series for younger readers. His latest titles, The Harder They Fall and Penguin Classics – Tales from India, are available now.
Bali’s School Visits
Bali is always willing to visit schools and colleges anywhere in the world, and has done so regularly for over fifteen years. His sessions include author talks, Q&A, and creative writing classes, He is happy to work with all abilities. He has particular experience of promoting reading for pleasure and engaging reluctant readers, and is happy to offer reading for pleasure talks to staff and parents too. He also talks about citizenship, with a focus on tolerance and empathy, and multiculturalism & identity.
Bali is happy to talk to audiences of any size. For his workshop sessions, a single class is always ideal, but he is willing to work with larger groups if necessary. He is also keen to engage with staff, to ensure that the sessions benefit the needs of the pupils’ and schools.
Number of sessions:
A full day usually consists of up to 4 timetabled sessions/lessons plus a book signing, if required.
A half day usually consists of up to 2 sessions plus a book signing, if required.
If your school timetable requires greater flexibility, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Bali is also willing to engage with schools on a longer-term basis for special projects or as an adopted author/writer.
Killing Honour (Young Adult)
When Sat’s sister Jas is married off into the Atwal family she changes. She’s quiet and distant. Sat is too busy with his own life; his girlfriend, schoolmates, football. Then she disappears. According to her husband she’s run off with another man. The family disown her. But Sat doesn’t believe it. Something terrible has happened to his sister and he’s determined to figure out what.
City of Ghosts (Young Adult)
Amritsar 1919 – a city simmering with discontent, Bissen watches as the young lives around him grow closer to danger, haunted by the horrific memories of his time as a soldier on the Western Front.
Gurdial can do little to stop his best friend Jeevan becoming entwined with a group of revolutionaries. Gurdial yearns only to be with his true love Sonhi. He knows that a poor orphan boy has no hope of securing Sonhi’s hand from her monstrous father Gulbaru. But what if Jeevan can provide the one thing that Gulbaru want more than anything else in the world? The answers begin to fall into place as a fateful day in history draws ever closer for them all.
• Published by Random House 2009
• ‘A heart-rending tale from a talented author.‘ Amanda Craig, The Times
• 2009 Carnegie long list
The Whisper (Young Adult)
In the sequel to ‘The Crew’ another gang of dealers have replaced Buster – and Divy appears to be the new man on the block. But Divy is Jaz’s cousin and this becomes a source of friction between Jaz and the rest of the Crew, especially when rumours of police informants lead to the finger being pointed in Nanny’s direction. And then there is the graffiti on the wall. Nanny has to leave town. Now the Crew must stand on their own. Billy and the others try to defend Nanny’s reputation but this only leads them into more serious trouble …
• Published by Random House 2005
• ‘Energy and verbal brilliance evident on every page. Bali Rai remains a writer to watch out for.‘ Nicholas Tucker – TES
• 2005 Booktrust Teenage Award Shortlisted
Rani fancies Sukh and Sukh is crazy for Rani, so it isn’t long before they become a couple, hiding their relationship from their families, especially Rani’s strict father. One day they will tell all, but they’ll worry about that later. Until then, Rani & Sukh enjoy being intoxicated with love, just like Kulwant and Billah, forty years ago in India, whose doomed teenage love affair started the dreadful feud between the Bains and the Sandhu families. The trouble is Rani Sandhu and Sukh Bains have no idea about what happened between their families years ago or what will happen if anyone finds out that history is repeating itself.
• Published by Random House 2004
• ‘It is a heart-wrenching love story that will exert its power over you long after the book is finished.‘ The Bookseller
• 2004 Booktrust Teenage Award Shortlisted
• 2005 Carnegie longlisted
The Crew (Young Adult)
A dark, back-alley, a mysterious stranger and a bag full of money…..
Ellie, Jas, Will, Dell and Billy live in the heart of a big city. They look after each other and try to stay out of trouble, which is difficult in their neighbourhood. Where they live, prostitutes on the street corner, gang warfare, territorial battles and a distrust of the police are commonplace. Then one day they find a fortune in notes and life is about to become even more complicated. Bali Rai’s second novel radically updates a much-loved genre and provides a controversial view of growing up in the 21st century as an urban teenager.
• Published by Random House 2003
• ‘A jewel of a book.‘ The Independent
(Un)arranged Marriage (Young Adult)
Manny wants to be a footballer, a writer or even a popstar…. he definitely doesn’t want to get married – but Manny’s father and his bullish older brothers are certain that he will not dishonour the family by evading what they have planned for him.
Manny already feels on the margins of his traditional Punjabi family: they disapprove of his black best friend, Ady – and Manny can only wonder what they would do if they found out about his white girlfriend, Lisa. Then suddenly Manny is taken to India on ‘holiday’ and left there, his passport confiscated. He is supposed to return to marry on his seventeenth birthday. But Manny has other ideas…..
• Published by Random House 2001
• ‘A brilliant piece of original writing, this novel is thought provoking and hugely-readable.‘ The Bookseller
Recommendations & Reviews
‘Excellent for children who are either struggling or reluctant readers. A story about conflicting ties to which all teenagers will be able to relate.’ The Telegraph
Praise for (un)arranged marriage: ‘A brilliant piece of original writing, this novel is thought provoking and hugely-readable.’ The Bookseller
Praise for The Crew: ‘A jewel of a book.’ The Independent
Praise for The Whisper: ‘Energy and verbal brilliance on every page.’ TES
Praise for Dream On: ‘Excellent for children who are either struggling or reluctant readers. A story about conflicting ties to which all teenagers will be able to relate.’ The Telegraph
Praise for The Angel Collector: ‘Compelling and highly readable … a story that will challenge every reader.’ The Birmingham Post
Praise for City of Ghosts: ‘City of Ghosts is a skillful and impressive fusion of some very disparate elements, and the result is a dramatic, moving and illuminating novel for young adults.’ The School Librarian
‘Bali Rai has a deep understanding of how to construct a thought-provoking story in the quick read format. … an expert in writing short, powerful books. Them and Us is a great read that handles the difficult subject matter perfectly.’ Richard Hanks, Project Manager for Reading Matters
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Bali Rai, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org