Guest Editor - Anthony McGowan Guest Editor - Anthony McGowan

Anthony McGowan is a diverse writer, from the Willard Price adventure stories to his more wacky sci-fi romps but it's as a writer of powerful fiction for young adults that he really excels. He isn't afraid to confront the tougher topics, such as gang culture in The Knife that Killed Me, teenage cancer in Henry Tumour or bullying in Brock. His books are also beautifully written and empathetic, reaching out to an audience that may not otherwise be drawn to reading.  He has a talent for writing books for struggling and dyslexic readers - our Reader Review Panel love his new book Pike, Callum said it was the 'Best Book Ever, Can’t wait to read more from Anthony McGowan.' 

You can find some of our favourite Anthony McGowan books below and also a selection of his favourite short novels and why he chose them.



Guest Editor's Books

Reader ReviewedPike
Anthony McGowan
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Not a word is wasted in this fine novel. On one level it is a thriller: fishing on Bacon Pond Nicky spots a glint of gold in its murky depths, and recognises the Rolex owned... Featured in: 13+ readers | Dyslexia-friendly | YA readers | Books for Boys | Guest Editor | Schools
Format: Paperback | Released 07/05/2015
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Brock
Anthony McGowan
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Nicky knows he must do everything in his power to save the innocent and brave badger.... Featured in: 13+ readers | Books of the Year | All Shortlists and Winners | Dyslexia-friendly | Guest Editor | Schools
Format: Paperback | Released 03/06/2013
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

The Fall
Anthony McGowan
Interest Age 11+ Reading Age 8+. Powerful novel by an award-winning author, charting a boy's harrowing schooldays in a sink estate in Liverpool. Two's company and three's a crowd, one has got to go. This is a terrifically taut and... Featured in: 13+ readers | Dyslexia-friendly | 11+ readers | Reluctant Readers | Guest Editor | Schools
Format: Paperback | Released 21/05/2011
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

The Knife That Killed Me
Anthony McGowan
February 2010 Guest Editor Robert Muchamore on The Knife that Killed Me. I've always answered every fan who e-mails me. Questions about me or my books are easy enough to answer (yes we're working on a CHERUB... Featured in: 13+ readers | Books vs Films | Author Favourites | All Shortlists and Winners | YA readers | Guest Editor | Schools | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 03/04/2008
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Einstein's Underpants
Anthony McGowan
A brilliantly funny and utterly inventive tale of useless superheroes and disgusting aliens from the acclaimed Anthony McGowan, ideal for boys of 9-11. Featured in: 11+ readers | 9+ readers | Guest Editor
Format: Paperback | Released 01/04/2010
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Python Adventure
Anthony McGowan
Python Adventure is the next authorised Willard Price book by award-winning author Anthony McGowan, for 8+ readers looking for action, adventure and animals! Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers | Guest Editor
Format: Paperback | Released 06/03/2014
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Hello Darkness
Anthony McGowan
A darkly comic psychological thriller with a noir twist from an award-winning author. Featured in: 11+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 05/09/2013
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Willard Price: Leopard Adventure
Anthony McGowan
There's an adventure, animals and action in the first authorized Willard Price book by award-winning author Anthony McGowan, for 8+ readers. Over 5 million copies of the original Adventure series by Willard Price were sold and this new book is... Featured in: 9+ readers | Guest Editor | Illustrator of the Month | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 05/07/2012
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Einstein's Underpants - And How They Saved the World
Anthony McGowan
Michael Rosen: 'A crazy adventure set amongst the kids you don't want to know but who this book makes you really, really care about."This is one of Michael's chosen favourite books. A World Book Day 'Recommended Read' for 2011.... Featured in: 9+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 01/04/2010
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Henry Tumour
Anthony McGowan
Winner of the Booktrust teenage prize in 2006, Henry Tumour is exceedingly funny, compulsive, thought-provoking, challenging, dark and tragic by turns. As Mal Peet, another author of brilliant teenage fiction said, ‘Henry Tumour is a boisterous, anarchic, frequently vulgar comedy.... Featured in: 13+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials | YA readers | Guest Editor
Format: Paperback | Released 05/04/2007
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

The Stone Book Quartet
Alan Garner
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose Animal Farm as one of his favourite short novels.. "Garner has a good claim to be our finest living children's writer (although he baulks at such restrictive definitions). His work has always interwoven... Featured in: 11+ readers | 13+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 15/05/2006
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

The Postman Always Rings Twice
James M. Cain
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose The Postman Always Rings Twice as one of his favourite short novels.. "This is a hard-boiled crime novel – adult in its themes and it characters – but one so fiercely compressed in... Featured in: YA readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released //--
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy


Back to top

Guest editor's chosen books

Willard Price: Shark Adventure
Anthony McGowan
Shark Adventure is an authorised Willard Price book by award-winning author Anthony McGowan, for 8+ readers. Full of action, adventure and animals! Featured in: 9+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 03/01/2013
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Willard Price: Bear Adventure
Anthony McGowan
Bear Adventure is the next authorised Willard Price book by award-winning author Anthony McGowan, for 8+ readers looking for action, adventure and animals! Featured in: 9+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 04/07/2013
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Blindside
Aidan Chambers
Interest Age Teen, Reading Age 8 Aidan Chambers is a very fine writer, whose novels often deal with themes of self-discovery. In Blindside, Nate, a talented young runner, is involved in a terrible road accident. Realising he'll never run again,... Featured in: 13+ readers | Dyslexia-friendly | Guest Editor
Format: Paperback | Released 12/01/2015
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose The Old Man and the Sea as one of his favourite short novels...."This is an adventure story, of a kind, about an old fisherman who, accompanied by a young boy, goes out in... Featured in: 13+ readers | Guest Editor | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released //--
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

A Kestrel for a Knave
Barry Hines
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose A Kestrel for a Knave as one of his favourite short novels...."At 200 pages, this is rather long for a short novel, but I just couldn't leave it out, as almost no other... Featured in: 13+ readers | YA readers | Guest Editor | Schools
Format: Paperback | Released 25/05/2000
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose Of Mice and Men as one of his favourite short novels...."I can almost hear the groans now, from millions of teenagers forced to read this for their GCSE! However, despite being ‘institutionalised' Of... Featured in: 13+ readers | 11+ readers | Guest Editor | Schools | eBooks
Format: Paperback | Released 26/01/2006
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy

Animal Farm
George Orwell
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose Animal Farm as one of his favourite short novels...."Orwell's story of a farmyard revolution is one of the very few parables that works on both levels: his animal characters are so wonderfully drawn... Featured in: 13+ readers | Audio Books | YA readers | Reluctant Readers | Guest Editor | Schools | eBooks
Format: Paperback (a Format) | Released 03/07/2008
Info Extract Wishlist Compare Price Buy


Back to top See ALL Authors in this category
See ALL Featured Books (with opening extracts) in this category
Share this page
My favourite short novels by Anthony McGowan "I love losing myself in a great, sprawling epic novel, one that might take months or years, even, to work my way through. But there’s also a delight in reading something that you can finish in one or two sittings, something short and perfect, which you can hold in your mind like a poem or a song. There are challenges, of course, for a writer of short-form fiction. There’s no scope for waste: characterization and scene setting must be done with minimal deft strokes. Every word has to earn its keep. I’ve picked short novels that have meant a lot to me at different times in my life. These are books that have moved me as a reader and influenced me as a writer. I’ve not tried to define what a ‘short novel’ or novella’ actually is, beyond books that could slip easily in to a jacket pocket, and be consumed in a couple of intense reading session. Barrington Stoke is our foremost publisher of short fiction for young people. They have tempted some incredible writers into writing wonderfully compressed narratives that easily match the impact of their longer works. Tom Palmer’s WW1 football story, Over the Line, Meg Rosoff’s brilliant and hysterical fable Moose Baby, and Kevin Brooks’ characteristically dark and intense The Devil’s Angel, all hit the sweet spot." Read a special Q&A with Anthony McGowan on his novels Pike and Brock.

My choices...

A Kestrel for A Knave, Barry Hines. At 200 pages, this is rather long for a short novel, but I just couldn’t leave it out, as almost no other work of fiction has had such an impact on me. It’s the story of a day in the life of a working class kid, Billy Casper, whose only respite from a loveless home and a brutal school comes from caring for a Kestrel he has reared and trained. It’s a depressing book, full of violence and a grinding poverty, but it also has moments of quiet beauty. Dense with drama and incident, above all, it’s a book that just feels so utterly true.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck – I can almost hear the groans now, from millions of teenagers forced to read this for their GCSE! However, despite being ‘institutionalised’ Of Mice and Men remains an incredibly powerful and heartrending story. It centres on the friendship of George (small but clever) and Lenny (strong, but simple-minded), and their struggles in the rural California of the Great Depression. It’s end is tragic, but what persists is the memory of the love between the friends. It’s something I shamelessly ripped off for my brothers, Nicky and Kenny, in Pike and Brock.

The Stone Book Quartet, Alan Garner. Garner has a good claim to be our finest living children’s writer (although he baulks at such restrictive definitions). His work has always interwoven fantasy and a grittily-rendered reality, but here realism comes to the fore. Four very short linked stories take us through four generations of one family in a Cheshire village. You could say that the stories are ‘about’ the nature of craftsmanship, the importance of geography in our psychic development, how wisdom is passed down through the generations, about how seemingly simple people lead lives of depth and resonance. Yet somehow it’s not really what its about that gives The Stone Book Quartet its power: it’s what it is: a self-contained, perfect work of art, as heavy in the hand as a granite rock.

Blindside, Aiden Chambers. Chambers is a writer of great depth and complexity, and his books are among the most challenging ever written for young adults. It’s a joy therefore to see him in simpler mode, allowing his gift for straightforward storytelling and brilliant dialogue to shine through. Blindside is the story of Nate, a promising athlete, terribly injured in a bike accident. Nate has to find a way to come to terms both with the physical pain, and the psychological harm done by the accident. It’s a book filled with rage, but also healing. Blindside shows another one of the advantages of a short book: it serves as an easily accessible portal in to the work of an author who can be a little forbidding …

The Postman Always Rings Twice James M Cain. This is a hard-boiled crime novel – adult in its themes and it characters – but one so fiercely compressed in its narrative drive, so searing in its pace, so true in its emotions, that anyone beginning it will race feverishly to the fatal conclusion. Cain’s writing is a masterclass on concision and power. The edition I read had only 90 pages, but it it’s like the matter at the heart of a black hole, so dense, it’s said, that if you brought a teaspoon of it back to earth, it would sink straight to the centre of the planet.


Lovereading

Lovereading 4 schools

Lovewriting