James Riordan - Author Picture

James Riordan - Author

James Riordan ( 10 October 1936 - 10 February 2012) grew up during the war in his chimney-sweep grandfather’s house in Portsmouth. After school he was a barman, waiter, railway clerk, commercial salesman, and dance band musician. During his National Service in the RAF he learned Russian and went on to become Professor of Russian Studies at Surrey University. Besides novels, he has written folk-tale collections, picture books and over 20 academic publications. His first novel for children, Sweet Clarinet, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and, like his other novels The Prisoner and When the Guns Fall Silent, is based partly on his own wartime experiences.

Riordan then produced a steady flow of anthologies of various kinds from across Russia and its near neighbours, acting as both collector and translator. He also diversified into other folk-story traditions, including The 12 Labours of Hercules (1998), which won the UK Reading Association award. His collection The Woman in the Moon and Other Tales of Forgotten Heroines (1985), including stories from Japan, Ghana, Sicily, Lapland and the UK, was celebrated for its strong female characters.

Breaking away from other people's stories, he wrote his first novel, Sweet Clarinet (1998), the touching story of a boy overcoming injuries sustained in the London Blitz through his love of playing music. Nine more novels followed; all have something of the folk tale about them in terms of a child overcoming adversity through courage and belief. Many, such as Rebel Cargo (2007), the story of children sold into slavery and his final novel, Blood Runner (2011), the story of a young black boy whose parents are killed by the South African police, carry strong socio-political messages. Russia never lost its appeal as a source of stories for him and he returned there with the setting of his penultimate novel, The Sniper (2008), which is based on the true story of a teenage marksman at the siege of Stalingrad.

Featured Books, with extracts, by James Riordan

War Song
James Riordan
A hugely powerful and emotional story which really brings home to the reader the horror and hardship faced not only by the soldiers, but everyone else who lived through the First World War. This outstanding story is full of raw...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 13+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 01/05/2014
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When the Guns Fall Silent
James Riordan
In an excellent time-slip story, James Riordan brings the action and tragedy of the First World War vividly to life. Jack's grandfather is a war hero with medals to prove it. But he will never talk about what he did...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 13+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/11/2013
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Author Info

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