All About Bali Rai
Bali Rai was born in 1971 and grew up in Leicester. His debut novel, (Un)arranged Marriage published in 2001 and has since been shortlisted for nine regional book prizes, winning The Angus, Stockport, North Lancashire and Leicester Book awards. The novel is now in eleven languages and Bali is firmly established as a leading voice in teenage fiction after following his debut with a succession of acclaimed titles.
Bali’s School Visits
A session is 50 minutes or an hour depending on how your school timetable is organised.
Bali is very happy for you to tell him what you’d like to see from his author session – from concentrating on a particular novel and the issues it may raise – to talking about being a writer and ideas.
Bali is happy with any size of group for a non-workshop session and will talk to a whole year group.
The best age group for a session discussing Bali’s young adult Random House titles is year 8 upwards. Some of the subject matter in the teenage titles is not suitable for younger students. Bali’s Barrington Stoke titles, including Dream On from the inaugural Booked-Up list are suitable for younger readers years 6-7.
Rani and Sukh – Due to demand and with this novel now on the GCSE reading list, Bali now delivers a full session concentrating on Rani and Sukh.
Creative Writing Workshop Sessions – 50 mins or 1 hour is required for a creative writing workshop session, 10-15 students are the optimum size of group. Numbers may go up to 30 but with any number over 15 Bali will pair the students up as he likes to get round and talk to them one to one.
Bali will talk about taking ordinary situations as stimulus for fiction and looks at dialogue and characters in this context. His emphasis is that you do not have done anything extraordinary or to have been on an amazing journey to write fiction.
Number of sessions -Bali will do a maximum of 4 timetabled sessions and these must be during the school day. Please don’t ask if he can do more than 4 sessions. If you would like him to chat and sign at lunch this must be requested before the event takes place.
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 email@example.com
Further information on Bali Rai is available from the following website: www.balirai.co.uk