Bali Rai

Award-winning teen and young adult author Bali Rai was Book Trust's sixth online Writer in Residence.

He blogged about issues facing young people, literacy and the importance of reading for pleasure, and also hosted a successful panel at London Book Fair where he got teenagers to tell publishers what they wanted to read.

Bali Rai

Bali Rai writes stories inspired by his working class Punjabi/Sikh background, but his aim was always that his writing should be enjoyed by readers everywhere, irrespective of class or culture.

His novels have the ability to tackle the harsh realities of growing up in the UK and blend this with humour and often a overriding optimism. Bali also visits schools and libraries in every major UK city, averaging 70 school and library events a year.

All of Bali’s teen titles have been short-listed for awards across the UK, including twice making the BookTrust Teenage Prize shortlist. His third novel Rani and Sukh has represented the UK at the International IBBY awards and had its own Facebook tribute group set up by fans.

Bali’s first three novels appear in The Ultimate Teenage Book Guide, and he also writes shorter novels for Barrington Stoke. His first book, Dream On, was selected for BookTrust’s inaugural Booked Up list. 

Bali Rai was born in 1971 and grew up in Leicester. As a child, Bali wanted to be a footballer or to write stories. Always an avid reader, he hails Sue Townsend, Douglas Adams and Robert Swindells as his writing heroes. Bali grew up reading Dr Seuss and Meg and Mog and his first book purchase was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

He realised he wasn't good enough to play for Liverpool F.C. and after gaining a politics degree in London he returned to his home city and combined a variety of jobs in pubs and clubs with completing his first novel. Bali set about writing a story he had been thinking about for many years. He wanted to write accessible material for children of all ages and backgrounds and realising there were no British Asian authors writing for children, he saw a gap. Bali hopes his novels capture the unique ethnic mix of the UK, of which he is proud to be a part.  

Bali's blog

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Related books

Rani and Sukh

Rani and Sukh

Bali Rai

A vivid, fast-moving take on the Romeo and Juliet story, exploring the experience of young urban British Asians as they negotiate their way through two cultures

Read more about Rani and Sukh

What's Your Problem

What's Your Problem

Bali Rai

Jaspal, born and brought up in Leicester, is 14 when his father moves the family to rural Nottinghamshire for a 'better life'. However, they (and their shop) soon become targets for racial abuse, hate mail and threats.

Read more about What's Your Problem

The Whisper

The Whisper

Bali Rai

Credible, hardhitting and couched in the street language for which he is well-known, this will be welcomed by fans of Rai's fiction.

Read more about The Whisper

The Last Taboo

The Last Taboo

Bali Rai

A story of powerful emotions and strong language, which provides no easy answers to the fact that racism exists in communities of all kinds.

Read more about The Last Taboo

The Angel Collector

The Angel Collector

Bali Rai

This is a thriller suffused with an air of menace, of insecurity, of complex personal tensions and violence.

Read more about The Angel Collector

City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts

Bali Rai

Based around the British massacre of Indians at Amritsar in 1919, Rai’s seventh novel for young adults moves seamlessly through time, place, belief and genre.

Read more about City of Ghosts

Dream On

Dream On

Bali Rai

Much to the disapproval of his parents, Baljit is mad on football and when he is invited to trials at Leicester City, he has to lie about his whereabouts.

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The Gun

The Gun

Bali Rai

Deep down, Jonas knew that he shouldn't have taken the gun home: shouldn't have hidden it, shouldn't have shown it to Kamal and should definitely not have let him take it away.

Read more about The Gun

Killing Honour

Killing Honour

Bali Rai

A blood-curdling murder story set in Leicester’s Asian community where family honour seems sometimes to count for more than family love

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