Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackmann
Born Oneta Malorie Blackmann
(1962-02-08) 8 February 1962
Clapham, London, England
Occupation Author
Nationality British
Genre Children's literature, science fiction, mystery, thriller and horror; poetry

Malorie Blackman, OBE (born 8 February 1962), is a British writer who held the position of Children's Laureate from 2013 to 2015.[1] She primarily writes 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 and Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism.


Malorie Blackman was born on 8 February 1962 . Her parents are both from Barbados. While at school, she wanted to be an English teacher, but grew up to become a systems programmer instead.[2][3] She earned an HNC at Thames Polytechnic and is a graduate of the National Film and Television School.[2][4]

Malorie Blackman married her husband Neil in the 1990s and their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1995.[3] Blackman has described herself, "I'm just Malorie Blackman, a black woman writer."[2] Blackman's first book was Not So Stupid, which was a collection of horror and science fiction stories for young adults, published in November 1990.[5] Ever since she has written more than sixty children's books, including novels and short story collections, and also television scripts and a stage play.[5][6]

Her work has won over 15 awards.[6][7] 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.[6] Her books have been translated into over fifteen languages including Spanish, Welsh, German, Japanese, Chinese 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 " of those games that nobody ever plays after childhood, because nobody ever wins..."[8] In an interview for The Times, Blackman said that before writing Noughts & Crosses her protagonists' ethnicities were never central to the plots of her books.[3] 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."[2] Blackman eventually decided to address racism directly.[3][8] 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.[3] 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."[3] Noughts and Crosses is now available in the US published under the title Black & White (Simon & Schuster Publishers, 2005).

Noughts & Crosses was No. 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.[9]

In June 2013 Blackman was announced as the new Children's Laureate, succeeding Julia Donaldson.[10][11]

Personal life

Malorie Blackman lives with her husband Neil and daughter Elizabeth in Kent, England. In her free time she likes to play her piano, compose, play computer games and write poetry.[12] She is the subject of a biography for children by Verna Wilkins.[13] In March 2014, Blackman joined other prominent authors in supporting the Let Books Be Books campaign, which seeks to stop children’s books being labelled as ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’.[14] In August 2014, Blackman was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[15]


Published works

The cover of the 2003, first edition, paperback of An Eye for an Eye
The cover of the 2004, first edition, hardcover of Knife Edge

Novels for young adults

Short stories for young adults

Novels for children

Short stories for children

Books for new readers

Picture books

Television scripts

Her novel Operation Gadgetman! was also adapted into a 1996 TV movie directed by Jim Goddard and starring Marina Sirtis.

Stage plays

Radio scripts

Awards and nominations

Body of work


For Hacker (1995)

For A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E (1997)

For Pig-Heart Boy (1997)

For Tell Me No Lies (1999)

For Dead Gorgeous (2002)

For books in the Noughts & Crosses series

For Cloud Busting (2004)

Television adaptations

For Pig-Heart Boy

See also


  1. "Malorie Blackman". Children's Laureate ( Booktrust. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Blackman, Malorie (1995–2007). "Malorie Blackman". Penguin UK Authors. Penguin Books Ltd. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Craig, Amanda (January 2004). "Malorie Blackman: the world in photographic negative". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  4. "Malorie Blackman". 40 artists, 40 days. Tate Online. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
  5. 1 2 "Full Record". British Library Integrated Catalogue. The British Library Board. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 "Malorie Blackman". Contemporary Writers. British Council. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 "Awards and Prizes". Kids at Random House. Random House Children's Books. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  8. 1 2 "Malorie Blackman – Children and Young People's Writer". Blast. BBC. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 9. 14 June 2008.
  10. Martin Chilton, "Malorie Blackman is new Children’s Laureate", The Telegraph, 4 June 2013.
  11. Michelle Pauli, "Malorie Blackman is the new children's laureate", Children's Books, The Guardian, 4 June 2013.
  12. Preface to Tell Me No Lies.
  13. Verna Wilkins, Malorie Blackman – Author Black Stars series, Tamarind/Random House, 2008.
  14. Masters, Tim (17 March 2014). "Campaign over gender-specific books gains support". BBC News. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  15. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  16. Also published as Black & White, Simon Pulse, 2007, ISBN 1-4169-0017-9
  17. Also published in Noughts & Crosses, Corgi Children's, 2006, ISBN 0-552-55570-3
  18. Originally published 1997.
  19. Also published as 4u2read.ok Hostage, Barrington Stoke, 2002, ISBN 1-84299-056-X, and as a "Close Look, Quick Look" photocopiable version for teachers, Barrington Stoke, 2004, ISBN 1-84299-236-8
  20. Originally published separately as Whizziwig, 1995, and Whizzywhig Returns, 1999
  21. "Malorie Blackman pens Seventh Doctor and Daleks story | Articles | Doctor Who". 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
  22. Also published as Ellie, and the Cat!, Orchard Books, 2005, ISBN 1-84362-391-9
  23. Also published as A New Dress for Maya, Gary Stevens Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-8368-0713-8
  24. Flood, Alison (13 February 2014). "Ruth Ozeki beats Thomas Pynchon to top Kitschie award". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Julia Donaldson
Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
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