Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman
author of literature and television drama for children and young adults. She has used science fiction to explore social and ethical issues. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts & Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to exploreracism.


Malorie Blackman was born in February 1962.[1] While at grammar school, in Peckham, she wanted to be an English teacher but grew up to become a systems programmer instead.[1][2] She earned a HNC at Thames Polytechnic and is a graduate of the National Film and Television School.[1][3]Blackman married her Scottish husband Neil in the 1990s and their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1995.[2] Blackman has described herself, “I’m just Malorie Blackman – a black woman writer.”[1]

Blackman’s first book, Not So Stupid, was a collection of horror and science fiction stories for young adults, published in November 1990.[4] Since then she has written more than fifty children’s books, including novels and short story collections, and also television scripts and a stage play.[4][5]Her work has won more than fifteen awards.[5][6] Blackman’s television scripts include episodes of the long-running, children’s drama Byker Grove, as well as television adaptations of her novels Whizziwig and Pig-Heart Boy.[5] Her books have been translated into over fifteen languages includingSpanishWelshGermanJapaneseChinese and French.

Blackman’s award-winning Noughts & Crosses series, exploring love, racism, and violence, is set in a fictional dystopia. Explaining her choice of title, in a 2007 interview for the BBC‘s Blast website, Blackman said noughts and crosses is “…one of those games that nobody ever plays after childhood, because nobody ever wins…”[7] In an interview for The Times, Blackman said that before writing Noughts & Crosses her protagonists‘ ethnicites were never central to the plots of her books.[2] She has also said, “I wanted to show black children just getting on with their lives, having adventures, and solving their dilemmas, like the characters in all the books I read as a child.”[1] Blackman eventually decided to address racism directly.[2][7] She reused some details from her own experience, including an occasion when she needed a plaster and found they were designed to be inconspicuous only on white people’s skin.[2] The Times interviewer Amanda Craig speculated about why the Noughts & Crosses series was not, for a long time, published in the United States: “though there was considerable interest, 9/11 killed off the possibility of publishing any book describing what might drive someone to become a terrorist.”[2] Noughts and Crosses is now available in the US published under the title Black & White (Simon & Schuster Publishers, 2005).

Noughts & Crosses was #61 on the Big Read list, a 2003 BBC survey to find “The Nation’s Best-Loved Book”, with more votes than A Tale of Two Cities, several Terry Pratchett novels, and Lord of the Flies.

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[8]

In 2010, Malorie Blackman’s name featured in Tinie Tempah’s song ‘Written In The Stars’ featuring Eric Turner.

Personal life

Malorie Blackman lives with her husband and daughter in Kent, England. In her free time she likes to play her piano, compose, play computer games and write poetry.


Published works

Novels for young adults

Black & White by Malorie Blackman,2007,ISBN 978-1-4169-0017-7

  • Unheard Voices: An Anthology of Stories and Poems to Commemorate the Bicentenary Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, editor Malorie Blackman, Corgi Children’s, 2007, ISBN 0-552-55600-9

Short stories for young adults

  • “Humming Through My Fingers” in the multi-author collection Shining on: A Collection of Stories in Aid of the Teen Cancer Trust, Picadilly Press, 2006, ISBN 1-85340-893-X
  • Short story in the multi-author collection The Crew and Other Teen Fiction, Heinemann Library, ISBN 0-431-01875-8

Novels for children

Short stories for children

  • “Contact” in the multi-author collection Out of This World: Stories of Virtual Reality (chosen by Wendy Cooling), Dolphin, 1997, ISBN 1-85881-602-5
  • Aesop’s Fables (retold by Malorie Blackman, illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Scholastic, 1998, ISBN 0-590-54382-2
  • “Dare to be Different” (illustrated by Jane Ray) in the multi-author collection Dare to be Different, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0-7475-4021-7
  • “Peacemaker” in the multi-author collection Peacemaker and Other Stories (illustrated by Peter Richardson and David Hine), Heinemann Educational, 1999, ISBN 0-435-11600-220220202857574939

Books for new readers

  • The Betsey Biggalow stories:
    • Betsey Biggalow the Detective (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1992, ISBN 1-85340-163-3
    • Betsey Biggalow is Here! (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1992, ISBN 1-85340-172-2
    • Hurricane Betsey (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1993, ISBN 1-85340-199-4
    • Magic Betsey (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1994, ISBN 1-85340-237-0
    • Betsey’s Birthday Surprise (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1996, ISBN 0-590-55864-1
  • The Girl Wonder series:
    • Girl Wonder and the Terrific Twins (illustrated by Pat Ludlow), Orion Children’s Books, 1991, ISBN 0-575-05048-9
    • Girl Wonder’s Winter Adventures (illustrated by Lis Toft), Orion Children’s Books, 1992, ISBN 0-575-05383-6
    • Girl Wonder to the Rescue (illustrated by Lis Toft), Gollancz, 1994, ISBN 0-575-05774-2
    • The Amazing Adventures of Girl Wonder (illustrated by Lis Toft), Barn Owl Books, 2003, ISBN 1-903015-27-8
  • The Puzzle Planet adventures:
    • Peril on Planet Pellia (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-935-8
    • The Mellion Moon Mystery (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-936-6
    • The Secret of the Terrible Hand (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-86039-370-5
    • Quasar Quartz Quest (illustrated by Patrice Aggs) Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-938-2
  • The Longman Book Project (with translations to Welsh):
  • Elaine You’re a Brat! [14] (illustrated by Doffy Weir), Orchard Books, 1991, ISBN 1-85213-365-1
  • My Friend’s a Gris-Quok (illustrated by Philip Hopman), Scholastic, 1994, ISBN 0-590-55864-1
  • Grandma Gertie’s Haunted Handbag (illustrated by David Price), Heinemann, 1996, ISBN 0-434-97225-8
  • Space Race (illustrated by Colin Mier), Corgi Children’s, 1997, ISBN 0-552-54542-2
  • Fangs (illustrated by Tony Blundell), Orchard Books, 1998, ISBN 1-86039-734-4
  • Snow Dog (illustrated by Sabrina Good), Corgi Children’s, 2001, ISBN 0-552-54703-4
  • The Monster Crisp-Guzzler (illustrated by Saynab Abdalla), Corgi Children’s, 2002, ISBN 0-552-54783-2
  • Sinclair, Wonder Bear (illustrated by Deborah Allwright), Egmont Books, 2003, ISBN 1-4052-0589-X

Picture books

Television scripts

Stage plays

  • 2002, The Amazing Birthday

Noughts & Crosses by the RSC

Awards and nominations

Body of work


For Hacker (1992)

  • 1994, W.H. Smith Mind Boggling Book of the Year Award.[5]
  • 1994, Young Telegraph/Gimme 5 Children’s Book of the Year Award.[5]
  • 1995, Birmingham/TSB Children’s Book Award (shortlist).

For Thief! (1996)

  • 1996, Young Telegraph/Fully Booked Children’s Book of the Year Award.[5]

For A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E (1997)

  • 1997, Stockport Children’s Book of the Year Award (Key Stage 3 category).[5]
  • 1997, Stockton-on-Tees Children’s Book Award (shortlisted).[6]
  • 1998, Sheffield Children’s Book Award (highly commended).[6]
  • 2001, Stockport Schools Book Award (shortlisted).[6]

For Pig-Heart Boy (1997)

For Tell Me No Lies (1999)

  • 2000, Stockport Children’s Book Award (shortlisted) (Key Stage 4 category)

For Dead Gorgeous (2002)

  • 2003, Calderdale Book of the Year (shortlist).[6]
  • 2003, Salford Children’s Book Award (shortlist).

For books in the Noughts & Crosses series

For Cloud Busting (2004)

  • 2004, Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Silver Award) (6–8 years category).[5]
  • 2005, Redbridge Children’s Book Award (shortlist).[6]
  • 2005, Stockport Schools Book Award (shortlisted).[6]
  • 2006, Nottingham Children’s Book Award (shortlist) (10–11 years category).[6]
  • 2006, West Sussex Children’s Book Award (shortlist).

Television adaptations

For Pig-Heart Boy

  • 2000, BAFTA Best Drama.[5][6]
  • 2000, Race and Media Best Drama Award.[5]
  • 2000, Royal Television Society Award (Children’s Drama category).[5]
  • 2001, Chicago TV Festival (shortlist).[5]
  • 2001, Prix Danube Children’s Jury Prize.