Writing YA: John Boyne and Andy Mulligan / Bath Children’s Literature Festival

Award winning authors, John Boyne (The Boy in Striped Pyjamas) and Andy Mulligan (Trash), talk about writing for young adults. Life is stranger than fiction in their books that span history, fantasy and beyond with characters that make us all think.


Date 02-10-2015
Time 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Venue Guildhall
I received a free ticket for reviewing this event.



Each author was introduced because the event began before Chair (John Mclay) asked how they both became writers.

Andy Mulligan began his career in the theatre where he worked for a decade before being made redundant. He then travelled before working as a teacher. His agent was actually the mother of one of his students.

John Boyne worked in a bookshop but always wrote, it wasn’t a career more a means to an end. Rent is a troublesome thing… 😉

As the discussion moved to their school days. Andy Mulligan told the audience about how aggressive his school was and how Ribblestrop was a way of writing it out of his system.

John Boyne felt great anger about one of the schools he attended. It’s something he talks about in A History of Loneliness. The school tried to give him a “past pupil excellence award” (I’m not sure I’ve got that title quite right) and John Boyne pretty much told them to ‘shove it’. (That I am quoting correctly, this was greeted by much applause and I’m adding another round here because yay!!!)

When John Boyne talked about planning his Wednesday Library visits as child, how you could borrow 3 books, and how he would treasure them and the excitement leading up to holidays when he could buy 3 books. Also how carful he’d be in taking care of them. John Boyne also talked about the dangerousness of stationary. Even when you didn’t need it…. I wasn’t the only one in the audience who just nodded throughout the entire thing. I mean I hug books but somebody behind me was whispering about ‘book-smell’ and there was a glee-squeak of excitement about the stationary talk.
We understand. So very much.

Andy Mulligan and John Boyne then had a mini debate about Famous Five vs Secret Seven – it started with Andy Mulligan talking about the books he read as a child but in short, Andy Mulligan is Famous Five and John Boyne is Secret Seven.

Both authors briefly introduced their newest books and read a small extract. I was so sad that Andy Mulligan’s wasn’t available to buy after the event because between his description and the small reading he gave I was like: WANT/NEED/HAVE TO OWN


LIQUIDATOR! The brand-new, delicious and wildly popular energy drink. “For those who wanna win!” The company that makes it is set to earn a fortune, with its global launch climaxing at an international rock concert that will SHAKE the planet. The only problem?An innocent child is dying. Meet Vicky and her class-mates – their work experience is about to spin totally out of control as they uncover a secret that could change the world. And put them all in mortal danger …

Before the Q&A with the audience began Chair John McLay asked; “What makes you want to write?”

John Boyne said it was a compulsion and he couldn’t do anything else. For Andy Mulligan it was a pleasure.



When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler’s wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.


The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival runs from
Friday 25th September to Sunday 4th October.

Twitter @bathfestivals
Facebook /bathfestivals
Website: bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature/

Follow on Bloglovin

2 thoughts on “Writing YA: John Boyne and Andy Mulligan / Bath Children’s Literature Festival

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.