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Alan Albert Gibbons
Gibbons at The World Transformed 2018 in Liverpool
Gibbons at The World Transformed 2018 in Liverpool
Born Warrington, Cheshire, England
Occupation Novelist, educational consultant
Language English
Nationality English
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Shadow of the Minotaur, The Edge
Notable awards Carnegie Medal Honor
2000 Shadow of the Minotaur
2002 The Edge
Years active 1988–present
Children 4

Alan Albert Gibbons (born 14 August 1953) is an English writer of children's books who has won a Blue Peter Book Award. He lives in Liverpool, England, where he used to teach in a primary school. Long involved in hard-left politics, he was on the central committee of the Socialist Workers Party for many years, before joining the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Early life

Gibbons' father was a farm labourer, but was hurt in an accident when Alan was eight years old. The family had to move to Crewe, Cheshire. He became a socialist at the age of 14.

Political career

Gibbons is a Marxist and joined the International Socialists, forerunner to the far-left Socialist Workers Party in 1974. He became a full time organiser and was on the party’s central committee for many years. He wrote that he was "tirelessly committed" to these organisations and that he "gave a quarter of a century to the SWP." He speaks at the annual Marxist conference Marxism and continues to campaign for left wing causes as well as more mainstream ones.

Gibbons organised the Authors Against the SATs Campaign in 2010.

Career as a writer

Gibbons trained to be a teacher in his mid-thirties and starting writing short stories for his students. Later, he began to write professionally. In 2000, he won the Blue Peter Book Award in the category "The Book I Couldn't Put Down" category for Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge for the 2001 Blue Peter Book Awards. He was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal twice in 2001 and 2003 and shortlisted twice for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He has also won the Leicester Book of the Year, the Stockport Book Award, the Angus Book Award, the Catalyst Award, the Birmingham Chills Award, the Salford Young Adult Book Award, the Hackney Short Novel Prize, the Our Best Book Award and the Salford Librarians' Special Award. In 2016 Gibbons was given the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award by the NUT. He is a contributor to the Arts Council/UK Literacy Association Writers in Schools initiative.

In Socialist Review, Michael Rosen said that Gibbons’ novels focus mainly on the lives of "working class children and teenagers". His stories are fast-moving and often include moments in which the protagonists make "personal socio-political choices."

He has been a regular speaker at the Edinburgh Book Festival, the London Book Fair, the Northern Children's Book Festival, the Hay on Wye Literary Festival, the Cheltenham Literature Festival and others. His work is published in nineteen languages and he visits many schools internationally, including schools in Kenya and Kuwait. He has appeared on BBC TV, Channel 4, Radio 4, and Radio 5 live and has written in the Times Educational Supplement, Junior Education, Carousel, Books For Keeps and other publications.

Gibbons is also an educational consultant and speaks at schools across the UK and abroad, including visits to Switzerland, Norway, France, Spain, Cyprus, Brazil, China, Africa, Brunei and the Middle East. On a trip to Malawi he participated in a scheme to deliver 9,000 books to schools through the Char Char Trust and visited the Ndi Moyo clinic.

At the Abingdon Joint School's Event in February 2013, he discussed upcoming books including 'Raining Fire' (to be published on 7 March) and a future project called 'Hate'. The novel was published in March 2014 and covered by BBC and ITV, Radio City, The Sunday Express, the Telegraph, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and the Manchester Evening News.

Alan Gibbons now co-writes occasionally with his twin daughters Megan and Rachel and his son Robbie.

Library closures

Gibbons is organiser of the Campaign for the Book and organized a successful 200 strong conference in Birmingham to launch it. In December 2010 he organised an 1100 signature Open Letter on library closures signed by many well-known figures in the arts, literature, media and publishing such as Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse, Kathy Lette, Francis Wheen, Joan Bakewell, Lee Child, Sarah Waters, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Holroyd, Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay, Terry Jones, and many more. He initiated countrywide Read Ins on 5 February 2011 to protest against library closures. Some 110 events took place across the country, involving up to 10,000 people. The events drew national and international media coverage. He also joined with the National Union of Teachers, Just Read and the National Literacy Association to organise a Reading for Pleasure conference in February 2011. Michael Rosen, Bernard Ashley and Malorie Blackman were keynote speakers.

In March 2011 he launched a new initiative, calling for a National Libraries Day to celebrate reading for pleasure, public libraries, school libraries and School Library Services. This rapidly won the backing of many organisations for an annual event on the first Saturday in February. In May 2011 Alan Gibbons initiated a campaign to establish a National Libraries Day, which has now evolved into a National Libraries Week. Alan Gibbons and the Campaign for the Book are part of the Speak up for Libraries Coalition. On 5 November, the Campaign for the Book joined the disabled organisation DPAC and three trade unions, Unison, Unite and PCS in organising a National Demonstration for Libraries, Museums and Galleries. It was attended by 2,500 people.

Works

  • Whose Side Are You On? (1988)
  • Pig (1990)
  • Our Peculiar Neighbour (1990)
  • The Jaws of the Dragon (1991)
  • S. O. S. Save Our Santa (1992)
  • A Dagger in the Sky (1992)
  • Chicken (1993)
  • Not Yeti (1994)
  • Grandad's Ears (1994)
  • City of Fire (1995)
  • Ganging Up (1995)
  • The Climbing Boys (1995)
  • A Street of Tall People (1995)
  • When My Ship Came in (1995)
  • Playing with Fire (1996)
  • Total Football: Some You Win... (1997)
  • Total Football: Under Pressure (1997)
  • Total Football: Divided We Fall (1998)
  • Total Football: Injury Time (1998)
  • Power Play (1998)
  • Last Man Standing (1998)
  • Twin Strikers (1999)
  • Final Countdown (1999)
  • A Fight to Belong (1999)
  • The Guv'nor (1999)
  • The Legendeer: Shadow of the Minotaur (2000)
  • The Legendeer: Vampyr Legion (2000)
  • The Legendeer: Warriors of the Raven (2001)
  • Julie and Me and Michael Owen Make Three (2001)
  • Treble Trouble (2002)
  • The Cold Heart of Summer (2002)
  • The Edge (2002)
  • Deathriders (2003)
  • Caught in the Crossfire (2003)
  • The Dark Beneath (2003)
  • The Defender (2004)
  • The Lost Boys' Appreciation Society (2004)
  • The Night Hunger (2004)
  • Blood Pressure (2005)
  • Hold On (2005)
  • The Greatest (2006)
  • Setting of a Cruel Sun (2006)
  • Rise of the Blood Moon (2006)
  • Scared to Death (July 2007)
  • The Darkwing Omnibus (October 2007)
  • The Legendeer Trilogy (February 2008)
  • The Demon Assassin (2008)
  • Renegade (2009)
  • Witch Breed (2010)
  • The Number Seven Shirt (2008)
  • Moving on (2009)
  • The Dying Photo (2010)
  • Dark Spaces (2009)
  • Rib Ticklers (2010)
  • An Act of Love (2011)
  • Raining Fire (2013)
  • Hate (2014)
  • End Game (2014)
  • Read On series (2013-2014)
  • Weirdibeasts
    • Weird School Day with Rachel and Megan Gibbons (2015)
    • Weird Snowy Day (2016)
    • Weird Spooky Day (2016)
  • Teach Me to Write Poetry
  • Teach Me to Write Non Fiction
  • Teach Me to Write Fiction
  • Street Corner Dad (2015)
  • Hate (2014)
  • The ISIS Trap (2016)
  • The Lion Roars (2016)
  • Forget Me Not (2016)
  • The Beautiful Game (2017)
  • Winds of October (2017)
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