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.  

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Features by Bali Rai


Related books by Bali Rai

The Last Taboo

Author: 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 Harder They Fall

Author: Bali Rai

Bali Rai once again hits home with a current and unfortunately necessary book. As always, the characters are fully fleshed out, the dialogue both believable and accessible, and the plot well paced and worthy of its subject matter.

Read more about The Harder They Fall

City of Ghosts

Author: 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

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