My name is David Whitley and I'm from the North West of England. A lifelong book lover, I've always wanted to write fiction, especially for children and young adults. The books I read as a child were full of extraordinary ideas and possibilities and I really wanted to put my own sense of wonder into my stories.
When I was 17 I entered my first novel for the Kathleen Fidler Award and was thrilled to be shortlisted. Encouraged, I submitted a children's story for the Cheshire Prize for Literature and, at 20, became their youngest ever winner.
However, I had an English degree to finish, so my writing went on hold until I graduated. Not that all of my time at Oxford was spent studying, I was lucky enough to be a member of Corpus Christi's University Challenge team and we made it all the way through to become Series Champions 2005!
After graduating, I decided to take a gap year to try my hand at writing seriously. Inspired by my love of Jonathan Swift and the age of the Enlightenment, I wanted to give my story an 18th Century feel. It's a glorious period – a flowering of thought and ideas. What if, amongst their great philosophical notions, the Enlightenment thinkers had conceived of a city without money, but which was ruled by the laws of the market, where everything and everyone was for sale? How would it work, what would life be like, and where would the power lie?
I planned to write it and then return to my studies whilst I waited to see if anyone was interested, but things moved a little swifter than that. I had just been accepted to study for a Master's Degree back at Oxford when I heard from my agent that Puffin wanted my book!
After that, it took off, and I am astonished to say that The Midnight Charter is currently published in fifteen countries and eleven languages, and has been longlisted for the Carnegie and the Branford Boase awards – more than I could ever have hoped for. And its sequels, The Children of the Lost and The Canticle of Whispers are also spreading across the globe. I hope that you’ll give them a try, and that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating those worlds!