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bali rai at Swanshurst School 2012

CONTENTS Schedule for 14th March




Booktrust Writer in Residence 6 Killing Honour


Book Groups






Coming Soon


Further Reading


Bali Rai at Swanshurst

14th March

bali rai at Swanshurst School 2012

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English lesson for Yr 8 and Yr 9 students Yr 11 discuss Killing Honour with Bali Bali talks about being an author and answers questions with Yr 11 and a few lucky students from other years. From 1.00pm till 1.30pm Bali will be signing books but you will need to start queuing at 12.30pm to buy your books. The 6th Form get their chance to quiz Bali about his life as an author.


Bali was born in Leicester in 1971. When he was young he dreamed about 3 things - playing football for Liverpool, being Bob Marley and becoming a writer. When he was 11 he read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend - this was the book that inspired him to write.

Favourite artist - Salvador Dali; favourite film - The Godfather (Part 2) and one of Bali’s favourite authors - Douglas Adams

After doing his A-levels, Bali studied Politics at Southbank University He soon moved back to Leicester, working in various jobs whilst writing his first novel - (Un)arranged Marriage. It was published in 2001 to great acclaim. Bali often gets asked to talk about his books abroad and has appeared on TV and radio. In 2010 Rani and Sukh became a set text for GCSE.

Check out Bali’s website for loads more info

Online Writer in Residence


Bali Rai has become the Booktrust Online Writer in Residence (a post previously held by people like Claire Wigfall and Patrick Ness). Bali understands as well as anyone, just how brilliant and important reading can be AND how reading for pleasure boosts academic achievement. He also wants to support the maintenance and promotion of books, school libraries and librarians.

Take a look at his manifesto on the Booktrust website. Anyone that has read Bali’s books will know that he isn’t afraid of exploring difficult subjects that most other writers shy away from especially racism. That can be very exciting and liberating for some readers but also difficult and challenging for others - that’s why we always encourage people to talk about their reading experiences in the library. We certainly encourage everyone to read his Booktrust blog post On Race and Racism and various entries on his blog. One of the best things about books is that they can stir up debate and discussion and force us to confront the issues of the day. Bali’s novels and stories do that AND they break down the barriers between books for teenagers and those for adults. His 6 months at Booktrust promise exciting developments - make sure you keep up to date with his blogs and activities.


illing Honour was published in 2011 and has been long listed for the Carnegie Medal 2012 and has won the Northeast Teen Book Award. Bali writes brilliant books and doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. Killing Honour is no exception. The main character is Sat, who like most teenagers is fairly self obsessed and caught up in his own world of friends, girls and football.

He loves his sister Jas, but doesn’t take much notice of her, especially when she gets married and leaves the family home. Then she disappears and Sat begins to think back - Jas had been getting quieter, becoming distant—what could have been happening? Her new husband tells the family that Jas has run off with another man. Her family disown her but Sat won’t let it go and strives to find the truth. Killing Honour is a gritty, unsentimental novel that doesn’t shy away from confronting difficult subjects. Yet it is constructed sensitively, promotes discussion and is, ultimately, uplifting. "Rai never shies away from difficult topics, and here tackles the controversial issue of honour killings. It's utterly compelling, and will be much-debated." - Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Years 7 & 8 Meet Tuesday 6th March Lunchtime in UF10

(Un)arranged Marriage was Bali’s first novel and remains one of his most popular. (Un)arranged Marriage is the story of a Punjabi boy called Manny who doesn't want to go through with the marriage that his father has arranged for him. Set in present day England and partly in the Punjab, it follows Manny from the age of 13 as he tries to balance the demands of his family with his own desires for his future.

Years 9 &10 Meet Thursday 9th March Lunchtime in UF10 Simran likes Tyrone from the moment she spots him in the crowd. He's gorgeous and he won't take no for an answer. There's just one problem. . . Tyrone is black and Simran's not sure how her family will react. Even though her parents were a 'love match' and married each other against the wishes of their families, Simran doesn't think they will approve of her having a black boyfriend, Like her cousin Ruby says, it's the last taboo. Their relationship becomes harder than either of them predicted - the hatred they encounter escalates into violence, with families and friends turning against each other. Simran and Tyrone are forced to question whether they are strong enough to fight for what they believe in.

Bali has now written 15 books plus his Soccer Squad series and has also contributed to two short story anthologies Dominoes and Losing It. We have them all in the library.


If you’re new to Bali’s books we’re sure they’ll be something for you. Try a modern day Romeo and Juliet (Rani and Sukh), a novel charting life in a gang (The Crew) or a tale set in a city on the verge of rebellion - Amritsar in 1919 (City of Ghosts). Whatever your choice make sure you’ve got a really good question for Bali when he visits - try and think of something no one has ever asked him before!

Baljit dreams of playing professional football but his dad thinks it’s a waste of time. He thinks Baljit should concentrate on getting a good education and work hard in his fish and chip shop. When Baljit and his friends get the chance to try out at Leicester City, he lies to parents because he knows they disapprove. Will it be worth it to follow his dream? Even if you’re not keen on football, this book has lots of humour, a bit of romance and is an inspiring story about not giving up on your dreams!

David hasn’t had an easy life. Always moving house with his mum to escape his violent, alcoholic father; he struggles to settle in at school as he’s always the new boy. This time it’s even harder, as David is the only white boy at his new school and racist bullies won’t leave him alone. The situation escalates when David’s racist dad tracks him down and takes on the bullies in a violent clash. Inspired by a true story, this is a brilliant book which is both hard-hitting and thought-provoking. Jonas and his friends live on a tough estate. When Jonas finds the gun from a recent murder, he decides to keep it. Once his friend Kamal finds out about the weapon, he wants to use the gun to scare a gang from a rival estate. Things soon get out of hand - Jonas won’t stand up to Kamal. The story builds to a dramatic conclusion with fatal consequences for one of them. The Gun is gritty, believable and definitely not a book for those who like a happy ending.

In Two-Timer Harj has no luck with the ladies and thinks he’ll never get a girlfriend, until one day two girls ask him out! How can he refuse? This hilarious comedy follows his struggle to keep seeing both girls at the same time. It all starts to fall apart when both girls end up at the same party on Valentine’s Day, but how does Harj feel when he finds out he’s not the only one doing the two-timing? Marcus gets a big surprise when he finds out his grandad is the new school caretaker. If that isn’t embarrassing enough, when the school goat goes missing everyone think Marcus’s grandad ate it! Marcus wants to help his grandad out of trouble… without landing himself right in it! Are you kidding is a must read for comedy fans.

Two-Timer is the first book in a comedy series based around a group of friends who all go to the same school. Revenge of the Number Two and Are You Kidding follow.

Kully’s life at school is tough. It all started in Year 7 when he had an ‘accident’ in the swimming pool which earned him the nick-name ‘Number Two’. By Year 10 Kully’s had enough and wants to get his own back on the bullies who make his life a misery. With the help of his friends, a goat and lots of poo, Kully begins the Revenge of the Number Two! A laugh-out-loud comedy for those with a wicked sense of humour!




Check out Bali’s website and his blog. You can have a look at interviews with Bali here, here, and here. There is a good video interview with students from a different school and another that he did for Sugerscape. There are plenty of more interviews and features available on the web.


Look out for two new novels by Bali Rai later this year - Fire City (Sept) and The Demon Hunter (May)

FURTHER READING Lots of students who love Bali Rai sometimes find it difficult to find other books to read but there are lots of other books out there that are gritty and exciting and talk about all kinds of social issues. Melvin Burgess was one of the first modern authors to change the face of writing for young adults because he wasn’t afraid to talk about the subjects that confronted teenagers every day race, sex, drugs and violence. All of his books are worth checking out.

Last year we were lucky to welcome Keith Gray to Swanshurst - try reading The Return of Johnny Kemp or Ostrich Boys, or for a gritty tale similar to the The Gun try Kill Swap by James Lovegrove, Under the Skin by Catherine MacPhail or Guilty by Eric Brown . Other authors you might like are Malorie Blackman, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Narinder Dharmi, Anna Perera and Elizabeth Laird. More than that we hope Bali will inspire you to read books you’d never thought of reading before. We have a whole library full of brilliant books for you to explore.

Bali Rai  
Bali Rai  

Bali Rai visits Swanshurst School March 2012