Monday, 14 October 2013

Turning Leaves....

As I definitely felt Autumn on my morning walk, I was reminded that I haven't yet done a seasonal  update of bookish news.

New commissions
I am delighted to be working on the following new commissions to be published in 2014:

'Red Leaves' for Macmillan Children's Books
Edited by Venetia Gosling

'Red Leaves' is very much  as its title suggests, an Autumnal tale. The leaves are well and truly on the turn, a collection of conkers sits on my desk and it's almost time for the clocks to go back, to carve the pumpkin and begin the festivals of light and imagination...and walking in Queen's Wood is helping to fan those flames! 
'Brace Mouth, False Teeth' for Barrington Stoke
Edited by Ruth Williams
As you can probably tell from the tongue twister title '  - say it fast and you might end up showering someone with spittle! -  it's a quirky tale featuring teeth belonging to the young and old! 

Newly released on October 28th...
Audio CD's of 'Kite Spirit' read by Juliet Stevenson
The audio book for 'Kite Spirit' has been recorded for AudioGo. It is available from 28th October. I am truly honoured that the wonderful actress Juliet Stevenson is reading my book which can be purchased through the following link.
She has also done the voice over for a short film of 'Kite Spirit' to be part of a walk in installation for the Pop Up Festival. Here is a film from Pop Up illustrating their excellent work with authors and young readers. The film includes a collaboration I was involved in with Keats House and Elizabeth Gareth Anderson School and Kite Spirit. Students poems and contributions will feature in the installation.

Edinburgh Festival
It was a real privilege to be invited to the Edinburgh Festival to talk on two panel discussions. The first with Tanya Byrne and Keith Gray about the boundaries in YA fiction at the Baillie Gifford Theatre, chaired by Janet Smyth  and the second with Cat Clarke and Julia Eccleshare as part of the schools programme.  It was very moving to hear the young people's passionate responses to themes of teenage pressure in 'Undone' by Cat Clarke and ' Kite Spirit' which Julia also commented on in 'Women's Hour.'

Here with Cat Clarke ( left) and Julia Eccleshare (Right)

Reading Mentor  at Fortismere school, London for the 'Patron of Reading' Scheme.
I met the lovely Librarian at Fortismere School in North London, Gill Ward at the beginning of the summer to talk through her invitation for me to become the school's 'Patron of Reading' . This is to include a special engagement with the Library, students and English Department. I will be holding talks, workshops and sharing insights into the writing process of each of my novels to support the school's reading programmes.

It was a delight to attend the Year 7 poetry festival last week where brave young writers performed their own amazing poems.  What a talented group of young writers. Pat Print in 'Artichoke Hearts' would have jumped for joy to have the honour of working with such inspirational young authors!

' Artichoke Hearts' or ' Mira In the Present Tense' - ' Jasmine Skies' and 'Kite Spirit'

'Artichoke Hearts' or ' Mira In The Present Tense'
US Publication
In September 'Artichoke Hearts' was  published under the name of 'Mira In The Present Tense' by ' Albert Whitman. It also sports a lovely new cover for the American market.

Issue: September 1, 2013
Mira in the Present Tense.Brahmachari, Sita (Author)
Sep 2013. 336 p. Albert Whitman, hardcover, $16.99. (9780807551493).
Originally published in the UK as Artichoke Hearts, this book tells the story of Mira Levenson, half Jewish
and half Indian, who is trying to make sense of her changing life. 

This is a gentle coming-of-age story built around a heartbreaking event. Mira, a compelling
narrator with an artist’s eye for detail, benefits from a lifetime surrounded by people who love her. Her
story resonates with truth (despite the secrets) and joy (despite the sorrow.)

— Kara Dean

Originally published as Artichoke Hearts in the U.K., where it won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Award in 2011, Brahmachari’s debut novel is worth the heartache it provokes. Readers will enjoy watching Mira gather strength through writing in her diary and confronting her fears. While the story deals with the heaviness and “necessary heartbreak” of losing a close relative, Mira’s energetic voice reminds readers that inspiration and hope can be found in the everyday. Ages 9–13. (Sept.)
Reviewed on 08/02/2013 | 
Details & Permalink <>  

British author Sita Brahmachari‘s debut novel (titled Artichoke Hearts on the other side of the Pond, and winner of Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize in 2011) is an emotionally charged, deeply resonating journey of a hapa Jewish Indian British girl coming-of-age in the midst of saying goodbye to one of the most important adults in her life. Brahmachari’s story is symphonic in scope, effortlessly melding elements as surprising as beatniks, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Thatcher, ethnic pride, hospice care, foundlings puppies named Moses, and so much more

'Jasmine Skies'
While at the Edinburgh Festival my lovely agent Sophie Gorell Barnes called me with the wonderful news that my second novel' Jasmine Skies' is also to be published by Albert Whitman.

I was also so happy to hear that 'Jasmine Skies' has been shortlisted  for the Coventry Book Awards (Voted for by readers)  in the ' Read It or Else Category!' Love the category title!!!

'Jasmine Skies' has been selected by The Book Trust  on a School Librarian's list for Reading Groups as a 'Future Classic.'

'Kite Spirit' Reviewed by Books For Keeps Review by Geoff Fox
I loved this sensitive review by Geoff Fox. It seems to reflect all I set out to do when I wrote ' Kite Spirit'

Kite’s best friend Dawn takes her own life on the morning of their GCSE Geography paper. Not because she was anxious about the exam – she was an A* student. Things are more complicated than that. Kite and Dawn had been best friends since they met in the playground of their London nursery school. Kite is the daughter of singer-songwriter Seth from Sheffield and flamboyant choreographer Ruby, whose family still lives in St Kitts. Her parents let Kite ‘choose her own name’ when, as a baby, she had ‘kicked my legs cos I saw a kite flying’. She has lived up to her name ever since, as a runner, a gymnast training with Circus Space, a flyer in every way. Dawn’s parents are more conventional and she had been more tentative, less self-assured; she found her way of flying through playing her oboe – and here she had seemed to have a brilliant future.
Kite’s journey from that morning of Dawn’s suicide is both spiritual and psychological, made possible through a literal journey she takes with Seth to the Lake District. He’s there to write music, but also to search for his own roots, since his mother was adopted in that area after the war and never knew her parents. As Seth discovers strands of his identity, Kite sees more clearly the security and open warmth of her own extended Caribbean family. Kite meets several people in the Lakes; each one in some way helps her understand the emotional numbness into which she has fallen. Finally Garth, a boy of her own age, enables her to release the dam which has prevented her grieving, to find a way of letting Dawn go without losing her. His care for her is intuitive and gentle – through actions rather than words.
There are other, more mystical strands, anticipated in lines from The Prelude which precede the narrative. Owls intervene in the story almost as messengers, their presence releasing moments of insight. The landscape and even one luxurious modern cantilevered house (planning permission, in a National Park?) also work upon Kite’s mind which, as the weeks pass, becomes in Wordsworth’s words, ‘nourished and invisibly repaired’.
The final page of Kite Spirit lists the contact details for MindThe SamaritansChildline and Young Minds; that’s consistent with the author’s caring, compassionate impulse evident in the plot but also the manner of its telling.