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Gareth Thompson Gareth Thompson

Gareth'’s three Young Adult novels for Random House; The Great Harlequin Grim, Sunshine to the Sunless, and Spring 2009’s The Anarchist’s Angel have earned him instant critical acclaim. Each story is set in a different season, and all are based in Cumbria. Gareth offers a modern take on Lake District life away from the tourist brochures. The novels show Gareth’s passion for his local area and his love of the region’s dramatic landscapes. These gripping and often touching teen dramas are for readers to devour and savour. Gareth’ s accessible and stunning prose draws the reader in from the very first page. His settings captivate us and his characters’ fascinations become our own as these wonderful mysteries unravel.

Gareth Thompson is from northern England and lives in Cumbria. A former journalist and theatre critic, he has also worked for charities and been involved in environmental action groups.

See below for brief synopses of Gareth’s novels and a selection of review praise.


The Great Harlequin Grim The Great Harlequin Grim

Glenn Jackson and his father move from Burnley to a small Cumbrian village. Glenn finds it hard to fit in at school and adapt to village life, especially when word gets around of Dad’s buffoonery in his own attempts to join the close-knit community. Then Glenn meets the alluring Laura, and falls into the crazy schemes of his new friend Baz, involving forays into the wild landscape and contacting aliens. He also discovers Harlequin, a boy-giant living rough in an old slate quarry. But as Glenn learns what this strange outsider is running from, events take a heart-breaking turn.

‘An exciting, raw read which is firmly rooting for the outsider’
- Times Educational Supplement
‘A remarkable debut novel’
- The Irish Times
‘I was hooked I couldn’t put it down’
- Teen Titles
‘A memorable read by a splendid writer’
– The Bookseller
‘A sobering, brittle and gut-wrenching tale An incredible debut’
- The Truth About Books

Nominated for the Branford Boase Award

Sunshine to the Sunless Sunshine to the Sunless

Andrew Kindness witnesses a terrible tragedy on the shores of the Duddon Estuary. Unable to help, he grows up tormented by the guilt of his own inaction that day. When his granddad shows him the art of cross-breeding daffodils, Andrew finds solace in the beauty of flowers, but must keep his hobby a secret from Millom’s streetwise gangs. Then Angie, the dazzling girl from the year above, takes an interest in his private passion. Andrew risks everything to become close to her, and in doing so begins to let go of the past’s haunting memories.

‘Drawing together the romantic landscape of the poets, with the tensions of contemporary Cumbria, this beautifully written, understated novel is a compassionate avowal of the human capacity for hope in the face of despair’
- The Guardian
‘A riveting read for anyone’
- Cumbria Life
‘The landscape is passionately and intricately evoked A compelling and moving rites-of-passage story’
- Carousel
‘Often funny, often moving, always tense and surprising’
- The School Librarian
‘Gripping teen drama’
- North-West Evening Mail

Longlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and UK Literacy Award

The Anarchist's Angel The Anarchist's Angel

Samson Ashburner always felt different – even before the farm accident that left his face scarred and confidence shattered. With the taunts of local children and his mother’s criticism ringing in his ears, Samson escapes to the Cumbrian countryside, away from the demands of his parents’ failing pub and the plans of a new ambitious landowner. Samson’s refuge is an ancient charcoal-burning hut in the nearby woods. There he encounters Angel Obscura, a beautiful gypsy girl who helps him see that hiding away is not the only option. But Angel may be hiding scars of her own, and Samson finds himself drawn into a web of deceit with an explosive outcome.

‘Green politics, a first love affair and kitchen sink drama combine in The Anarchist's Angel to form a tremendously satisfying novel’
- The Bookbag
‘Anarchist's Angel’ teeters on a precipice between savagery and immense compassion, it crackles with energy and the searing heat of raw human emotions’
- The Bookseller
‘This is a taut, atmospheric thriller which had me in its thrall from the opening page’
- Children’s Book News
‘A great thriller a cracking read for adults too’
- Cumbria Life
'The book moves at a cracking pace It will inspire young people to think about their world and their relationships, and to consider what is of value’
– Fresh Ties