Pig found its way to winning publisher

27th June 2003 at 01:00
Publisher Barry Cunningham has a winning way with first-time authors.

The man who bought the Harry Potter books for Bloomsbury also spotted Kevin Brooks's novel Martyn Pig in his in-tray. And this week Mr Brooks and Mr Cunningham collected the Branford Boase Award for the year's most exciting author-and-editor partnership in children's publishing.

Kevin Brooks's film noir-style novel about a neglected teenage boy who sets off a chain of blackmail and betrayal when he accidentally kills his drunken father was published last year by The Chicken House, the independent company set up by Mr Cunningham in 2000 after he launched Harry Potter as founder publisher of Bloomsbury Children's Books.

"I'd almost given up after contacting a lot of publishers and quite a few agents," says Mr Brooks, who wrote Martyn Pig while working in customer services for a railway company. "But I'd spent my 20s and 30s trying to get into the music business so I was used to rejection. I knew I just had to keep going.

"Then I saw a small piece in a trade magazine about a new publisher so I sent off a synopsis and first chapter, then Barry rang me the next day and said he wanted to see the rest of it. That opened a doorway into a wonderful life and we've kept up a great working relationship. Barry's a top man."

Mr Brooks has just finished his third book for the Chicken House, Kissing the Rain. Lucas was published early this year and Martyn Pig is also on the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal.

The Branford Boase award was set up in memory of author Henrietta Branford and editor Wendy Boase of Walker Books.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now