An award-winning Ilkley author has landed deals on both sides of the Atlantic for his new novel for teenagers and young adults.
Martyn Bedford’s novel Never Ending, published in the UK this week, is also coming out in the US and Canada next month and has sold translation rights in Germany and Poland.
It follows the success of his first book for teens, Flip, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Book Awards in 2012 and won four regional prizes in Britain as well as several nominations in America.
Never Ending is published by Walker Books, in London, and Random House, in New York and Toronto. It has already received starred reviews from two prominent American literary magazines, Kirkus and Booklist, and is February’s Book of the Month on the influential website Lovereading4kids.co.uk, which described it as: “An edgy, brilliantly told story with a strong teen-girl protagonist. An unforgettable story that will stay in readers’ minds long after they finish the book.”
The novel tells the tale of a 15-year-old girl, Shiv, who is haunted by grief and guilt after the death of her younger brother Declan during a family holiday in Greece. Off the rails, she is sent away to an exclusive clinic that claims to ‘cure’ people like her. But this is no ordinary psychiatric institution and Shiv discovers that her release – from her demons, from the clinic itself – will come, if it comes at all, at a bizarre and terrible price.
Kirkus called it, “Beautiful and illuminating. The characters and the scenery are rendered with such photographic precision that readers will feel as though they’re watching a film. They’ll also find Bedford’s compellingly blunt, sharply-drawn narrative sometimes too painful to read. The results, however, are absolutely worth it.”
Bedford, a former journalist on the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, now teaches creative writing at Leeds Trinity University, in Horsforth, and has lived in Ilkley for nearly 20 years. He wrote five critically-acclaimed novels for adults before switching to teenage fiction.
“I spent two-and-a-half years writing and rewriting Never Ending, so I’m delighted to see it in the bookshops at last,” he said. “Flip has been the most successful of all my books, and I was conscious of trying to make this new novel as good. So I’m especially pleased – and relieved – that it has been well-received by critics and publishers. Of course, the real test for any author of teenage fiction is whether teenagers like it.”
Bedford will be touring schools to give readings and talks to promote Never Ending and has been booked to appear at a number of literary festivals, including Otley Word Feast, on March 29, where he will be running a creative writing workshop for teenagers.
He has also been approached to appear at this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival, in October.