Bali Rai was born in 1971 and grew up in Leicester. His debut novel, (UN)ARRANGED MARRIAGE published in 2001 to fantastic reviews and has since been shortlisted for nine regional book prizes, winning The Angus, Stockport, North Lanarkshire 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. He has been invited to festivals and book launches in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany and visited schools across Europe as far a field as Cyprus and the Czech Republic and also Australia. The past year has seen Bali invited to Nepal and Singapore with the British Council.
As a child, Bali wanted to be a footballer or to write stories. Always an avid reader, he hails Sue Townsend, Douglas Adams and Robert Swindells as his writing heroes. Bali grew up reading Dr Seuss and Meg and Mog and his first book purchase was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. He realised he wasn't good enough to play for Liverpool F.C. and after gaining a politics degree in London he returned to his home city and combined a variety of jobs in pubs and clubs with completing his first novel. Bali set about writing a story he had been thinking about for many years. He wanted to write accessible material for children of all ages and backgrounds and realising there were no British Asian authors writing for children, he saw a gap. Bali hopes his novels capture the unique ethnic mix of the UK of which he is proud to be a part.
For Bali, the greatest thing about being a writer is for a young reader to say 'your book made me want to read more books'. He enjoys the honest feedback from readers he meets during his school visits and indeed, some of the more eccentric ones may find themselves turning up as characters in his next book.
Bali also writes shorter novels for Barrington Stoke. His first, DREAM ON, was selected for the Booktrust's inaugural Booked Up list, to be made available free to every Year 7 school child in the UK. Bali's third teenage novel, RANI AND SUKH and fourth THE WHISPER were both short-listed for The Booktrust Teenage Prize. RANI AND SUKH was selected to represent the UK at the International IBBY Awards, has its own Facebook tribute group and is on the main GCSE reading list. Bali's first UK hardback, CITY OF GHOSTS and succeeding title KILLING HONOUR were both Carnegie long listed. 2012 saw Bali's successful tenure as Booktrust online writer in residence and several new publications. THE DEMON HUNTER is a fabulous thriller from Pearson's Heroes series. Random House published the dystopian thriller FIRE CITY in September to critical acclaim.
Nothing has gone well for Sam since he and his mum had to swap their nice home for life on a grim estate after his dad's disappearance. When he meets Cassie, Sam feels things could take a turn for the better. But Cassie is no ordinary girl and soon Sam finds himself on a trail of revenge with the most dangerous consequences. A chilling urban ghost story.
Within the crumbling walls of Fire City, fifteen-year-old Martha is a member of the resistance, a small band fighting for freedom in a lawless and horrifying new world. Amidst the chaos of battle arrives Jonah, a handsome stranger with a thirst for revenge and a power to destroy the Demon rulers. As Martha and Jonah's lives collide, the future of the resistance is altered forever. The battle for humankind will now begin...
Random House September 2012
THE DEMON HUNTER
It's 1937. When Jai's father disturbs an ancient tomb the god Anubis appears to deliver punishment. He begs Anubis to let his son go free. Anubis agrees but Jai must complete a task; to find and destroy an ancient Egyptian demon who has escaped the Underworld.
Jai finds himself on the banks of the Thames and the horror has only just begun. Victorian London is no place for the weak of heart. It is a time of violence, suspicion and fear. It is the time of Jack The Ripper.
WORLD SERIES RIGHTS - PEARSON 2012
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.
UK/US:RandomHouse Translation:JLA 50,000words
CITY OF GHOSTS
2010 CARNEGIE AWARD LONG LISTED
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 wants 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.
UK: Random House July 2009 65,000 words Translation: JLA
SOCCER SQUAD Age 7-9
The hit soccer series from a multi award winning author.
Dal, Abs, Jason and Chris are obsessed with football. They are the first to sign up for the trials at their new school, but will they make it into the team with all the fresh competition? And if they do they are in for a big surprise...
4 titles: Starting Eleven, Stars, Glory, Missing!
UK: Random House 09 12,000 words Translation:JLA
THE ANGEL COLLECTOR
It is six months since Sophie went missing and the police are getting nowhere. Tired of waiting for news and unable to get her out of his mind, Jit decides he is going to try and find her. Sophie's parents are not sure this is for the best, but eventually he embarks on her trail with their full support. Sophie was last seen at a music festival and the last thing she said to Jit was that she never wanted to see him again. Who on earth is Shining Moon? And what about the middle-aged man the others remember seeing just before she vanished. But then Sophie sends Jit a text message . This is an exhilarating and terrifying thriller.
June 2007 50,000 words
THE LAST TABOO
'a powerful depiction of family history, cultural prejudice and gang culture...' The Bookseller
Simram falls for Tyrone the moment she spots him in the crowd. He's gorgeous. Even better, he fancies her back. But there's just one big problem, Tyrone is black. Simran's parents would probably be okay about it if she told them, but for others, it simply can't be tolerated that a family member could dare to have such a relationship. It is the last taboo for an Asian girl and one that some will do anything to enforce.
Random House June 2006 57,000 words
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.
'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
2005 50,000 words
RANI AND SUKH
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 and 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.
2004 Booktrust Teenage Award Shortlisted
Random House 2004
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.
Random House 2003
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...
Random House 2001
Jit's dad thinks his son will one day take over the family fish and chip shop, but Jit has other ideas, he want to be a footballer and wear the red shirt of Liverpool F.C. The thing is, Jit can play a bit and when the trials come up, he knows he has to give it a shot.
2007 Booked Up List
UK: Barrington Stoke
Further titles from Barrington Stoke by Bali: THE GUN, THEM AND US, WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?, TWO TIMER, REVENGE OF THE NUMBER (TWO) and ARE YOU KIDDING? (July 2008)