Winning Year: 1996
Author: Melvin Burgess
Title: Junk

Original Publisher: Anderson Press
Current Publisher: Andersen Press
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780141315935
In Print

Junk is the most controversial Carnegie winner yet. It unflinchingly tells the story of Tar and Gemma, who run away from home, move to Bristol and meet up with some squatters. It is superbly written, with a subtle character development achieved through a succession of first person accounts of an adventure, or maybe nightmare, that leads to heroin addiction.

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Melvin Burgess was brought up in Sussex and Berkshire. As a child he read The Wind in the Willows and Gerald Durrell's animal stories. He went on to enjoy The Hobbit and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books. As a student he generally lacked confidence. He became interested in writing when he was twelve and an English teacher praised one of his stories, "it was about the first time I'd ever done anything that got an A. I was so pleased I never stopped."

After leaving school Melvin moved to Bristol, where he occasionally worked in the building industry and was often unemployed. He started writing in his twenties and wrote on and off for the next fifteen years before The Cry of the Wolf was published. He moved to London in 1983 and began a small business marbling fabrics for the fashion industry. He now lives in Manchester and writes full-time.