Conjuring The Infinite beats Carnegie Medal-winner to win Catalyst Book Award 2014

We’re thrilled for Kirkland Ciccone, whose debut Conjuring The Infinite has followed in the footsteps of Linda Strachan‘s Spider, which won the Catalyst Book Award in 2011.

Kirkland dons the Catalyst crown...
Kirkland dons the Catalyst crown…

We don’t normally post full media releases here, but Kirkland is always good for a quote. Plus, this way you can find out what’s next from him. It has an extraordinary title! (More details will follow soon.)

Kirkland Ciccone’s debut Young Adult novel Conjuring The Infinite, published by Strident, has won the 2014 Catalyst Book Award ahead of Kevin Brooks’ Carnegie Medal-winner The Bunker.

The Catalyst Book Award is voted for by the pupils of North Lanarkshire’s secondary schools.

Conjuring The Infinite tells the story of the dazzling and outwardly faultless Seth Kevorkian. No ordinary teenager, Seth’s fixation with an ethereal power has driven him to terrible acts against those closest to him.

But now the Eyes of the Sky have opened; and the story begins with Seth’s funeral. Have his antics driven someone to take revenge? Can his housemates trust each other? And why is the rain seething with life?

Commenting on winning the award, Kirkland said, “This feels amazing. Over the last few weeks I’ve spent hours posing gracefully in my roller skates with pretend Catalyst Book Award trophies – it was a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes the other day – just in case. And now it turns out that my practising wasn’t in vain. I’m thrilled.

“A huge thank you to all the teenagers around North Lanarkshire, so many of whom voted for me, and also to all the school librarians who allowed me to appear in person.”

Strident Publishing’s Keith Charters, says, “I was knocked out by the manuscript – the story is deviously clever and intriguing, and kept me on tenterhooks right to the last page.  But what makes this book is that Kirkland tells the tale as only he could, in an accessible – sometimes outrageous – satirical style. He’s really funny in person and that comes through strongly in his writing.”

Kirkland’s second novel will hit the shelves in late October. “It has a short title, but the subtitle is everything,” he says. “Endless Empress: A Mass Murderer’s Guide to Dictatorship in the Fictional Nation of Enkadar.  It features nurses smuggling potatoes, as well as evil unicorns, mass murder and bingo.   Though not necessarily in that order.”

(See, we told you it’s an extraordinary title!)


Lee and the Consul Mutants – free sampler

Nothing in life is free. Or so they say. But they’re wrong. Because here’s a free sampler for Lee and the Consul Mutants, the first book in the hilarious Lee series.

Lee and the Consul Mutants extract chapter 2

Lee and the Consul Mutants extract chapter 2

If you don’t know the story, it starts with Lee’s appendix exploding. Ouch! They say all first novels are partly autobiographical (you’ll get a lot of points for that word in Scrabble)…from which you can guess that Keith Charters‘ appendix once also went BANG.  The (amazing and weird) things that inspire authors!

You can find out more about Keith and his books on this site or at


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Matt Cartney: Action Man

Is it a bird, is it a plane…? Actually, it’s probably Matt Cartney researching his next Danny Lansing Adventures novel.

Matt may not have the Swivel Eyes of the Action Man below, but he’s got a lot more get up and go, as demonstrated by this short film.

(Click link to view. You should be taken to YouTube in a new window.)


(And yes, there is a reason for this Action Man being between 2 slices of break, but that’s for another day…)

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Catalyst Book Awards 2014 – only 5 days left to vote for Kirkland Ciccone’s CONJURING THE INFINITE

Just in case you haven’t already put a big ‘X’ on your voting slip for Conjuring The Infinite, here’s chapter 1 so you can read why you should. Enjoy!

CONJURING THE INFINITE by Kirkland Ciccone chapter 1 CONJURING THE INFINITE by Kirkland Ciccone chapter 1

cover_Adult_KirklandCiccone_ConjuringTheInfinite Vote KIRKLAND CICCONE for Catalyst Book Award 2014! Kirkland Ciccone


Janne Teller appearing at Hay’s HowTheLightGetsIn

Nothing author Janne Teller will be speaking at HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, this May in Hay-on-Wye.

Janne will join Hilary Benn and Thomas Dichter to debate whether foreign aid is perpetuating poverty, speak on whether the web needs a democratic revolution and debate whether distance is irrelevant to moral responsibility. (For more info head to


Janne is brilliant at putting across complex ideas simply, as you’ll know if you’ve previously heard her at Edinburgh International Book Festival.

HowTheLightGetsIn brings together world-leading scientists, musicians, philosophers and politicians for debates, talks, and wild parties. This year’s programme aims to uncover some of the new heresies that might become the truths of the future. Contributors will include Roger Penrose, Bernard-Henri Levy, Laurie Penny, Lawrence Krauss, Saskia Sassen, David Nutt, Lyse Doucet, Molotov Jukebox, Owen Jones, and Mr. Scruff.

Guaranteed to galvanise your brain cells!

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WOLFIE is a Fantastic Book Awards WINNER!

Great excitement here at Strident HQ at the news that Wolfie by Emma Barnes is a WINNER of the FANTASTIC BOOK AWARDS!

Wolfie by Emma Barnes, with cover & illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark
Wolfie by Emma Barnes, with cover & illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark

We couldn’t be happier for Emma. It’s a great accolade for a sensational book, one of those classics that has a timeless quality of the sort that’s made The King of the Copper Mountains so hugely popular.

Emma Barnes
Emma Barnes

If you’ve got some spare time perhaps you could come and scrape us off the ceiling.

Fiction with bite