Bell Night is back from the dead!

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After a long period of no blogging, Bell Night is back up and running. Due to a number of personal reasons the site hasn’t been operating for a while. I hope that you will forgive me for being absent! I am truly sorry.  Hopefully in the coming weeks I will see a lot of old faces and hopefully some new ones. Stay posted and watch this space because there will be a new author review up in a few days! Looking forward to hearing form everyone and writing some new articles!

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The Stephen King of Children’s Books: R .L. Stine

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Robert Lawrence Stine was born on October 8th 1943. Many people will know him as the author of many children’s series like, Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, Fear Street, and The Nightmare Room. Robert began writing at the age of 9 when he discovered a typewriter in his attic. Roberts father was a shipping clerk at a warehouse and his mother would stay at home to look after the children. Robert had two other siblings.

He later went on to achieve a degree of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. He then moved to New York and became a writer and editor. His books have now sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

Some interesting facts about R. L. Stine that you may not have known:

His mother would read scary stories to him as a child like the original version of Pinocchio.

When he was a child he wanted to become a cartoonist.

Something strange about Robert is that the only green thing that he will eat is green mint ice-cream.

Supposedly Robert doesn’t have a very good memory.

Robert tried to make sure that he was writing every day when he was a teenager.

Robert wrote his first book in 1986 and it was called Blind Date.

In 1986 he wrote a children’s book called Miami Mice

Stine is married to a Jane Waldhorn and they have a son together and his name is Matt Stine.

Some writing you should certainly check out by Robert is:

Space Cadets

Jerks-in-Training                  Losers in Space           Bozos on Patrol

Goosebumps Series 2000

Cry of the Cat           Bride of the Living Dummy                  Creature Teacher

Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part I                        Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part II

I Am Your Evil Twin             Revenge R Us                 Fright Camp

Are You Terrified Yet?             Headless Halloween          Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls           Brain Juice

Return to HorrorLand          Jekyll and Heidi          Scream School         The Mummy Walks

The Werewolf in the Living Room         Horrors of the Black Ring        Return to Ghost Camp

Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!       The Haunted Car           Full Moon Fever      Slappy’s Nightmare

Earth Geeks Must Go!          Ghost in the Mirror

Give Yourself Goosebumps

Escape from the Carnival of Horror         Tick Tock, You’re Dead!         Trapped in Bat Wing Hall

The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek      Night in Werewolf Woods          Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter

Under the Magician’s Spell          The Curse of the Creeping Coffin       The Knight in Screaming Armor

Diary of a Mad Mummy         Deep in the Jungle of Doom        Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum

Scream of the Evil Genie       The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock      Please Don’t Feed the Vampire!

Secret Agent Grandma        Little Comic Shop of Horrors       Attack of the Beastly Baby-sitter

Escape from Camp Run-for-Your-Life       Toy Terror: Batteries Included          The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island

Return to the Carnival of Horrors              Zapped in Space          Lost in Stinkeye Swamp

Shop Till You Drop…Dead!         Alone in Snakebite Canyon        Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel

Night of a Thousand Claws           Invaders from the Big Screen           You’re Plant Food!

The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge          It’s Only a Nightmare           It Came from the Internet

Elevator to Nowhere        Hocus-Pocus Horror            Ship of Ghouls

Escape from Horror House        Into the Twister of Terror          Scary Birthday to You

Zombie School         Danger Time           All-Day Nightmare

Give Yourself Goosebumps: Special Edition

Into the Jaws of Doom          Return to Terror Tower          Trapped in the Circus of Fear

One Night in Payne House        The Curse of the Cave Creatures

Revenge of the Body Squeezers        Trick or…Trapped!         Weekend at Poison Lake

 

Fear Street

The New Girl     The Surprise Party      The Overnight          Missing

The Wrong Number        The Sleepwalker         Haunted      Halloween Party

The Stepsister     Ski Weekend        The Fire Game         Lights Out

The Secret Bedroom         The Knife         The Prom Queen

First Date        The Best Friend         The Cheater        Sunburn

The New Boy       The Dare       Bad Dreams       Double Date

The Thrill Club         One Evil Summer       The Mind Reader

Wrong Number 2        Truth or Dare             Dead End

Final Grade          Switched         College Weekend           The Stepsister 2

What Holly Heard       The Face         Secret Admirer       The Perfect Date

The Confession          The Boy Next Door       Night Games         Runaway

Killer’s Kiss        All-Night Party          The Rich Girl            Cat

Fear Hall: The Beginning        Fear Hall: The Conclusion

Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?        Into The Dark      Best Friend 2

Trapped

 

New Fear Street

The Stepbrother         Camp Out

Scream, Jennifer, Scream!          The Bad Girl

 

Fear Street Super Chiller

Party Summer         Silent Night        Goodnight Kiss

Broken Hearts         Silent Night 2      The Dead Lifeguard

Cheerleaders: The New Evil         Bad Moonlight

The New Year’s Party        Goodnight Kiss 2          Silent Night 3

High Tide        Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!

 

 

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Suzanne Collins: Readers Hunger for More!

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Suzanne Marie Collins was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 10th, 1962. She is best known for having written The Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games has also been made into a movie.  Suzanne is married to actor Cap Pryor and has two children together.

In 1985 Suzanne graduated in a double major of theater and telecommunications at Indiana University. She then went on to do a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University. Suzanne’s writing career started out as a scriptwriter for televisions shows. Some of these shows were: Clarissa Explains It All, Little Bear, Oswald and the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. It wasn’t until she met children’s author James Proimos that she decided to try writing children’s books herself.

In 2003 Suzanne published her first book in The Underland Chronicles called Gregor the Overlander. These books are what first brought her to the attention of many readers. In 2008 Suzanne’s first book of The Hunger Games trilogy was released. Since then readers have not been able to get enough of her books.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known:

Suzanne is the best selling kindle author in history so far.

Channel-surfing between reality television shows like Survivor and news coverage of the Iraq war gave Suzanne the inspiration for The Hunger Games.

Because of her screenwriting background Suzanne finds dialogue easier to write than descriptive passages.

Suzanne has a lot of family that has been in war. Her father was in the Vietnam War, her grandfather was gassed in World War I and her uncle was injured in World War II.

Some reviewers have compared The Hunger Games to a Japanese novel called Battle Royale saying that it is very similar.

She usually writes for 3 to 5 hours a day, stopping in the early afternoon.

Stephen King read The Hunger Games and has called the book addictive. He also compared the book to “…shoot-it-if-it-moves video games in the lobby of the local eightplex; you know it’s not real, but you keep plugging in quarters anyway.”

Suzanne Collins was 38 when she began to write Gregor the Overlander.

The Hunger Games was at first 50 000 words and then was pushed up to 200 000 words. It has also been translated into 26 different languages.

She was named by Time Magazine as being one of the most influential people of 2010.

The American Library Association ranked The Hunger Games at the 5th most banned book in 2010 due to its violence and sexually inappropriate content.

Allegedly Suzanne is extremely afraid of rats.

Suzanne got the name ‘Katniss’ for the main character in The Hunger Games from a plant. The plant is an aquatic plant. In Latin this plant means ‘belonging to an arrow.’

Scenes from The Hunger games movie: District 12, the Capitol, and the arena were all shot in North Carolina.

Here are some of Suzanne Collins other books to check out:

The Underland Chronicles

Gregor the Overlander                  Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods                Gregor and the Marks of Secret

Gregor and the Code of Claw

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games                      Catching Fire                         Mockingjay

Others

When Charlie McButton Lost Power                    When Charlie McButton Gained Power

Fire Proof: Shelby Woo #11

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George R R Martin: The Master of Character Writing

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George Raymond Richard Martin was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, USA on September 20th 1948. He is a fantasy, sci-fi and horror writer most recognised for his books A Song of Ice and Fire. These books became an epic fantasy series which is also now a television show called Game of Thrones.

George developed an early appreciation for stories and story writing. As a child he would sell his writing to other children of his neighbourhood. George also liked to watch television shows such as The Twilight Zone and Thriller. In his teenage years George had an avid interest in comic books and enjoyed creating new superheroes of his own.  George went on after high school to the Northwestern University, Evanston, Illionois to earn his degree in Journalism. During this time he sold his first professional story to Galaxy. This story was called The Hero.

George met his first wife Gale Burnick while at a science fiction convention. They became divorced in 1979 and had no children. In February 2011, George married his second wife Parris McBride.

Here are some interesting facts about George R R Martin that you may not have known:

George is against fan fiction and believes that it is stealing someone else’s work and that it is not something that aspiring writers should get into.

George likes to collect little medieval figurines.

He has read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and enjoyed it.

George has a deep affection for wolves. He is a supporter of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. If you have read some of his books, you will also notice a large presence of wolves throughout them.

George during the Vietnam War was drafted but instead of going to war opted to do alternative service work for two years.

George is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

George has made sure over the years to make a regular appearance at conventions for his fans.

Supposedly George has told the producers of Game of Thrones all the plots and twists coming up in case he dies before he finishes the books.

One of the many reasons George R R Martins books have become so popular is because of his complex characters and in-depth story lines. Unlike many other writers his characters are not black and white, straight good vs. evil. He has managed to let the very essence of humanity shine through in his character descriptions.

Some of George R R Martins writing that you should check out:

Fevre Dream               Windhaven           Dying of the Light                 A Song for Lya 

Hunter’s Run                Sandkings                    Songs the Dead Men Sing          Nightflyers

Tuf Voyaging              Portraits of His Children                The Hedge Knight            

The Sworn Sword          The Mystery Knight                 Quartet                   

 Songs of Stars and Shadows       The Armeggedon Rag                 

A Game of Thrones                  A Clash of Kings              

A Storm of Swords               A Feast for Crows                   A Dance with Dragons           

The Winds of Winter                A Dream of Spring                        Dream Songs

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Peter Straub: An author to add to your horror collection!

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Peter Francis Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 2nd 1943. He is an author and poet, best known for his work in the genre of horror. He was the eldest of three sons, his mother was a nurse and his father was a salesman. Straub began his writing career by publishing two small books of poetry and by writing two novels in the 1970’s. These novels were called Marriages and Under Venus. These two novels were not very successful, but in spite of that Straub continued writing. A lot of Stephen King fans will recognise the name Peter Straub because of his collaboration with him on the novels The Talisman and Black House.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about Peter Straub:

Fans will be excited to hear that there are rumours of Straub and King doing a third Talisman book.

Straub’s parents had higher ambitions for their son other than becoming a writer. Straub’s father wanted him to become a professional athlete.

Straub is a great fan of Jazz, Opera and other kinds of classical music.

His wife’s name is Susan.

When Straub was seven years old his was temporarily paralysed after being hit by a car. He was in a wheelchair for a little and had to re-learn how to walk. He early on became aware of his own mortality.

In 1981 his novel Ghost Story was loosely adapted into a film. One of the main actors in this film was Fred Astaire.

To name just some of Straub’s favourite authors: Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Muriel Spark, Donald Harington and John Crowley.

Straub has had his novels translated into more than twenty languages.

Something wise that Straub once said: “I wish I’d known at the beginning that all I really had to do is trust myself. Everything would work out as if by magic once I actually leaned back into my imagination and just let it work, and not question it and not fret about it.”

If you are a horror fiction fan and need something new to read, pick up a book by Peter Straub. Well worth the read!

Novels to read:

Koko       

Ghost Story                

If You Could See Me Now                

Mystery

Shadowland          

Julia                   

The Throat               

The Hellfire Club        

Mr X.                 

Under Venus             

Marriages             

Floating Dragon      

Lost Boy, Lost Girl                

In the Night Room             

A Dark Matter

Peter Straub and Stephen King:

The Talisman                  

Black House

Poems:

Open Air                      

My Life in Pictures

Ishmael

Lesson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 – 1975              

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Terry Pratchett – The Creator of Discworld

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Sir Terence David John Pratchett was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield, England. He is mostly known for a series of fantasy novels about a place called ‘Discworld.’ The Discworld itself is described as a large disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants, all supported by the giant turtle Great A’Tuin as it swims its way through space. The books are basically in chronological order. He has sold more than 55 million books worldwide and had his books translated into 33 different languages. Terry Pratchett went to John Hampden Grammar School, but claims that his education came from the local library. His first short story was published at the age of 13 in the school magazine Technical Cygnet. This short story was called The Hades Business. When he was 15 it was then published commercially in Science Fantasy. With the money earned from this published short story, he bought his first typewriter.

After finishing school Terry began a career in journalism. It was during this time he wrote his first novel ‘The Carpet People.’ This novel marked the beginning of his writing career. From this point on he wrote many other stories and his first ‘Discworld’ novel in 1983. This was called ‘The Colour of Magic.’ In 1968 he was married to his wife Lyn and then in 1976, he had a daughter named Rhianna. Rhianna went on to follow in her father’s footsteps as a writer. Rhianna Pratchett’s main area of writing is with video games. In November 2012 Terry Pratchett announced that he would leave the intellectual rights for theDiscworld’ novels to Rhianna, who could continue writing for it if she chose to do so.

In 2007 Terry Pratchett discovered that he had a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He donated a one million dollars Alzheimer’s Research Trust after finding out that the funding for Alzheimer’s research was small. In 2008 Terry began working with BBC on a documentary series based on his illness.

Here are some things that you may not have known about Terry Pratchett:

Terry was one of the first authors to use the internet to communicate with fans. Terry has always had a great interest in computers. His first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. When he travels, he always takes a laptop with him to write. He also enjoys playing computer games and has also helped out in creating a lot of game adaptations of his novels.

Terry is a great supporter and trustee of the Orangutan foundation in the UK. One of his most popular fictional characters is the librarian in the ‘Unseen University’s’ library. The librarian is an Orangutan.

He owns a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants. Some of these plants have been used in his novels.

He is the most shop-lifted author in Britain.

His fans do not seem to be restricted by age or genre.

Terry is known to have a great sense of humour as shown in an interview. He was asked if he has noticed any affect from Alzheimers happening and he replied “Yes. Bits drop out. The short-term memory has gone and so has the short-term memory. The short-term memory – OK, little jokes won’t be so funny in the fullness of time, but laughter is the best medicine.”

Terry writes an average of 2 books a year.

As he was growing up he considered Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows his favourite book.

Terry has said that ‘…To write, you must read extensively, both inside and outside your chosen genre…’

Here is a list of novels and stories by Terry Pratchett that you should check out:

Discworld Series:

1. The Colour of Magic         2. The Light Fantastic        3. Equal Rites      4. Mort            5. Sourcery               6. Wyrd Sisters

7. Pyramids          8. Guards! Guards!        9.Eric            10. Moving Pictures       11. Reaper Men               12. Witches Abroad                13. Small Gods

14. Lords and Ladies       15. Men at Arms     16. Soul Music       17. Interesting Times        18. Maskerade         19. Feet of Clay

20. Hogfather          21. Jingo         22. The Last Continent       23. Carpe Jugulum      24. The Fifth Elephant       25. The Truth

26. Theif of Time       27. The Last Hero        28. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents          29. Night Watch

30. The Wee Free Men      31. Monstrous Regiment        32. A Hat Full of Sky        33. Going Postal         34. Thud!

35. Wintersmith      36. Making Money     37. Unseen Academicals     38. I Shall Wear Midnight      39. Snuff       40. Raising Steam

Discworld Short Stories:
(Most of these are available online.)

Turntables of the Night               Troll Bridge            Theatre of Cruelty            The Sea and Little Fishes

Death and What Comes Next           A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices

Science Books:

The Science of Discworld             The Science of Discworld II: The Globe              The Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch

The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day

Mapps:

The Streets of Ankh-Morpork           The Discworld Mapp           A Tourist Guide to Lancre                Death’s Domain

Other works by Terry Pratchett:

The Dark Side of the Sun                   Strata                 Good Omens              Nation                A Blink of the Screen                 A Slip of the Keyboard

The Carpet People         Johnny and the Bomb                       Johnny and the Dead            Dodger               The Nome Triliogy

Bell Night

Roald Dahl: The Orignal Charlie Bucket

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Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales on the 13th September 1916. He came from a strong Norwegian heritage with both his parents being Norwegian. When he was young both his sister and his father died only weeks apart. Roald Dahl’s mother could have taken him and his two other sisters back to Norway to live with relatives, but decided to keep them in Wales. This was because his father had the belief that British schools were the best in the world.

While attending school in derbyshire, there was a Cadbury chocolate factory not far away that used to provide sweets for the children to sample. There was also another company in the area that was in direct competition with Cadbury. It seems there was some corporate espionage going on. This later on gave Roald Dahl the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl only began writing when he met author C.S. Forrester. His first short story was published in 1942. Roald Dahl thought his career as a writer came about as a ‘fluke.’ Something that a lot of people don’t know about Roald Dahl is that he wrote macabre adult stories before he started writing children’s stories. As Roald Dahl wrote more and more stories they started to become less realistic and more fantasy.

Roald Dahl died the 23rd of November 1990 from a blood disease. He was 74 years of age. It is said that he had a sort of ‘Viking’ funeral where he was buried with some items that he cherished in life. These items were pencils, chocolates and snooker cues.

Here are some interesting facts about Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl was named after a famous Norwegian explorer.

When Roald Dahl’s son Theo was four months old he was hit by a taxi and therefore afterwards suffered from hydrocephalus also known as ‘water on the brain.’

In 1962 his seven year old daughter Olivia died from measles. He later dedicated the ‘BFG’ to Olivia.

Roald Dahl married actor Patricia Neal in 1953. During birth of their fifth child, she suffered from cerebral aneurysms. Patricia had to re-learn how to walk and talk. Roald Dahl divorced Patricia Neal in 1983. He then became re-married to Felicity Crosland.

Roald Dahl could speak three different languages: Norwegian, English and Swahili.

Roald Dahl was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force and was also a fighter pilot during World War II.

Roald Dahl didn’t really get into children’s books until he had his own children. In the 1960’s he got a traditional Gypsy wagon and turned it into a playhouse for his children.

He dedicated the book ‘Matilda’ to his grand-daughter Sophie Dahl.

Roald Dahl stated once that if he hadn’t become a writer he would have become a doctor.

In 1965 he was accused of plagiarism. He published a short story in Playboy called ‘The Visitor’ which was a lot like a story from writer Dod Osbourne called ‘Master of the Girl Pat.’

He loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream.

His favourite way of writing was with pencil on yellow paper.

He had two steel hips and six operations on his spine.

Some of his favourite authors were Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Frederick Marryat.

Some of Roald Dahl’s stories that you should consider reading are:

Children’s Fiction:

The Gremlins          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory                  Charlie and the Glass Elevator

The BFG                 The Witches             The Twits               Fantastic Mr Fox          Esio Trot

The Minpins            The Vicar of Nibbleswicke             Danny, the Champion of the World

The Magic Finger              The Enormous Crocodile                George’s Marvellous Medicine

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me           James and the Giant Peach        Matilda        

Adult Fiction:

Switch Bitch                   Kiss Kiss             Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl           Two Fables

Sometime Never: A Fable for Superman             Someone Like You          Skin and Other Stories

My Uncle Oswald             Lamb to the Slaughter             The Best of Roald Dahl        

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories       Tales of the Unexpected     The Roald Dahl Treasury

More Tales of the Unexpected         Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More            The Roald Dahl Omnibus

The Great Automatic Gramatizator                       Roald Dahl Collected Stories

Ah: Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a great author with an even greater imagination. Hopefully he has inspired you to read and write more.

Bell Night

Neil Gaiman: An author that needs no introduction.

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Neil Richard Gaiman was born in England on the 10th of November 1960. He became intrigued by books as a small child. Some of the authors he liked to read were Edgar Allan Poe, Tolkien and C.S.Lewis. Libraries and his love of books fostered a deep seeded interest in writing. The starting point of Gaiman’s career began in Journalism. He wrote many articles and interviews under pseudonyms for the Sunday Times, the Observer, Knave and Time Out. In 1984 his first book was a biography on the band Duran Duran. Gaiman went on to write in many different genres across a range of mediums. Neil Gaiman is a writer who who keeps his fans constantly entertained. He was not only a writer but also a screen writer, a graphic novelist, producer and director. Some of the screen writing he has done that you may of heard of is: Beowulf, Coraline, Day of the Dead, Death and Me, Princess Mononoke, Stardust, MirrorMask and A Short Film About John Bolton.

Some interesting facts that you may not have known about Neil Gaiman:

His writing always seems to have a lot of metaphors, allusions and alliterations.

His dogs name Cabal, comes from the Hebrew word Kabbalah. The original meaning of this is an occult doctrine or secret.

Neil Gaiman is good friends with Tori Amos.

Currently he is married to Amanda Palmer who is his second wife. He has three children with his first wife Mary McGrath.

Gaiman never went to college.

Gaiman filed and won a lawsuit against Todd McFarlane. In 1991 Gaiman was asked by McFarlane to do some work for him on one issue of the Spawn series. During this time Gaiman introduced three supporting characters to the issue that he had created. McFarlane later claimed that he owned all of Gaimans creations. McFarlane also refused to pay Gaiman for work that was later republished and kept in print.

Neil Gaiman has his own blog. You can check it out here:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/

Neil Gaiman is definitely an amazing writer and it was my pleasure to add him to the author review list. I hope you gained as much pleasure reading about him as I did writing about him.

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Andrew Mcgahan: An Author of Many Genres

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Andrew McGahan was born 1965 in Dalby, Queensland, Australia. He grew up on a wheat farm with 9 other brothers and sisters. After finishing school he went to the University of Queensland to do an Arts degree, but ended up dropping out half-way through it. He then went on to write his first novel, but unfortunately this was never published. The next few years became a ‘floating’ stage in life for him, doing an array of jobs, until he published his first book in 1992. This book was Praise. When he wrote Praise in 1991 he received The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for unpublished novels. Praise is about the truth and dark humour of a young person growing up in Australia. It is also about a relationship sustained by drugs, alcohol and sex. Some say that this novel is a some-what an auto biography. Praise is considered to be in the genre of grunge literature.

In 1995 Andrew went on to write a prequel to Praise called 1988. When Andrew tried to write a third novel after 1988, he found it difficult. Instead of writing something in the genre of grunge literature he ended up writing a crime novel. This novel was called Last Drinks. Last Drinks won a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. From this point forward nothing seemed to be able to stop Andrew from writing great novels. He went on to write The White Earth , Underground, Wonders of a Godless World, The Coming of the Whirlpool and The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice. Andrew McGahan has written in many different genres throughout his writing career and it has proven to be a great success.

Andrew Mcgahan is an Australian author that shows writing is a struggle, but if you stick with it you may just make it.

Bell Night