Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Melvin Burgess, Author, visits RGS

We were delighted to welcome Melvin Burgess to Redland Green on Thursday, 5 December. He spoke to students studying English Literature from The North Bristol Post 16 Centre and to Year 10 students studying LVS in two sessions over the morning.

Melvin came to literary prominence in 1996 with ‘Junk’, a story of teenage heroin addiction based in Bristol that was a winner of both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. This controversial young adult novel redefined British teenage fiction and took it in a completely new direction at a time when it was struggling to find a voice.

Melvin spoke to our students in depth about both ‘Junk’ and his new novel ‘The Hit’, set in the near future in and around Manchester. This new novel is not for the faint hearted and aimed squarely at the upper teen market. The story was developed from an idea sent to the publisher Chicken House by two philosophy teachers Brandon Robshaw and Joe Chislett.

Melvin read extracts from both novels and took a range of searching questions from both groups of students. 

Here are a few of the comments our students made about Melvin’s visit:

‘I really enjoyed the talk, especially when he spoke about how he based the characters on real people and the real experiences he had had in his life…..’

‘..really enjoyed Melvin coming to give the talk because it helped me gain an insight  on how the writer viewed the books he wrote as he wrote them, and, how he uses his reality to intertwine with fiction to create a novel!’

On ‘The Hit’ one student wrote: ‘….he talked to us about why people would choose to take this drug and what would happen if they did take it. He also told us how he got to write this book. We all thought this was good because it showed us what authors go through [in order to write] a successful book.’

If you would like to find out more about Melvin and his views on writing for teenagers, there are two links below that you will find useful. We also have a large number of his books available in the Learning Resource Centre (check our on-line catalogue available via Google Apps on the school website). His books are also available widely through Bristol Library Service (see the Libraries West Catalogue).

Melvin Burgess interview for National Literacy Trust

Melvin Burgess: a life in writing. The Guardian