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Malorie Blackman laughs at the camera

10 things you never knew about rock star author Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman has written over  60 books, was appointed Rock Star of All Things Bookish – ie Children’s Laureate – in June 2013, and has now added a little icing to all that cake by being named the most influential black person in Britain.  Pour yourself a cuppa, get comfortable in that chair and let’s learn a little more about this literary powerhouse. One: She was first published by The Women’s Press It took two years and a staggering 82 rejections before Malorie got her first book deal. It was with the feminist publisher, The Women’s Press and she submitted a collection of short stories for teenagers that blended horror and science fiction. The collection was published in 1990 and called Not So Stupid. Alas, the same can’t be said about all those publishers who originally passed on her. Two: She read her first black book at 23 Malorie has said that it never crossed her mind to be a writer until her mid-20s when she read The Colour Purple. The Alice Walker novel was …

Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

I’m late for the start of the Jaipur Literature Festival. I’m trying to decide between jeans and a light summer dress for the Indian winter sun when I get a call on my hotel room phone. “Are you still coming?” asks a member of my book club, “we were supposed to leave at 9.30am.” It’s 9.50am and the other 11 members of the Asian Authors Book Club have been waiting on the mini bus for 20 minutes. I throw on the summer dress. Luckily traffic moves quickly through Jaipur’s roads and the Diggi Palace venue turns out to be a short 15 minute ride away. We hustle through the huddles of khaki-dressed police – loaned to the festival after the latest round of Salman Rushdie-related death threats – through the metal barriers that seem to assessorize every Indian tourist venue and are finally tumbled into the heart of the festival. There is colour everywhere. This is India so that goes without saying, but the festival organisers have branded Jaipur 2013 in a hot pink and …