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Thrilling seaside mystery Malamander is chosen for Young City Reads 2020

A reading project for primary school children has revealed Malamander has been chosen as the Young City Reads title for 2020. Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC selects one book for children across Brighton & Hove, Sussex and beyond to read, explore and discuss from World Book Day on 5 March 2020 until a special live event at Brighton Festival in May 2020.

Published by Walker Books, Malamander is the creation of award-winning children’s author and illustrator Thomas Taylor, known for his distinctive cover artwork on J.K. Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Based in Bexhill-on-Sea, Taylor has written and illustrated several picture books and young novels including the Daniel Dyer series and Scarlett Hart for Marcus Sedgwick.

Malamander is set in Eerie-on-Sea, a town where strange stories seem to wash up on the shore. The story follows a daring duo, Herbert Lemon, Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and Violet Parma, a young girl searching for her parents who disappeared twelve years earlier, as they team up to solve the mystery of a legendary sea-monster. Sony Pictures have secured the film rights for the movie adaptation and Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen is the voice of the audiobook.


Thomas Taylor the 2020 Young City Reads author commented:

‘I’ve always lived near the sea and seaside towns, but it was only when I finally came to live in one that I discovered the secrets of coastal life that inspired my book Malamander. I’m thrilled to participate in Young City Reads 2020 as it seems so appropriate to have children who live and go to school near the coast read my book. I hope it captures their imagination to create their own stories and encourages a life-long love of reading.’

In 2019, over 3,000 pupils from schools across Sussex took part, sharing Onjali Q Raúf’s book, The Boy at the Back of the Class and taking part in free weekly activities sent directly to teachers for their class.


Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said:

‘We’re delighted to have Young City Reads take part in Brighton Festival’s young literature events. Encouraging children to enjoy books and discover new ideas together improves their literacy in a fun and creative way. We’re sure Malamander will be a big hit with children across the county and encourage primary schools to sign up and take part for this big read event.’

Young City Reads culminates in a special live event with the author as part of Brighton Festival’s Children and Young People’s Literature programme in May 2020.

Sarah Hutchings, Director of Young City Reads added:

‘We are so excited to share this sensational seaside adventure with young readers across Sussex. Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma are a spirited, unforgettable double act and this timeless tale is just the thing to inspire children to fall in love with reading. It’s really easy for Primary Schools to get involved. Teachers can register on the Young City Reads website for free and we’ll send them weekly literary resources and fun activities for their classes to take part.’

Denise Johnstone-Burt, Executive Editorial Director at Walker Books commented:

‘We’re delighted that Young City Reads have chosen Malamander by Thomas Taylor as their 2020 title. It’s a brilliantly quirky seaside book and the perfect read for children growing up in Brighton & Hove. I hope the wonderfully mysterious atmosphere and exciting story will nurture their love of reading and spark their imaginations.’