Saturday, 29 November 2008

And now for the real work

I've just written 50,000 words in one month!

Will probably have to bin most of it, but even so...
By the way BEDLAM out v. soon!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Less than a week to go

I've got to write 8,000 words in 5 days in order to win NanoWrimo this year. I'm still going to try!

Monday, 10 November 2008


On target for NanoWrimo, but only just! I'm planning to write two books this year so this is a good way of accelerating. It's great fun to try and write 50,000 words in a month. I don't know why everyone doesn't do it (!) I've also been doing research for my new novel THE END, which has been fun and of course isn't procrastination. I'm going to Norway on a mini book tour next week, which is great but I think it's going to be even colder than Bridgwater...

I'm also planning the launch of BEDLAM in January with my mate Elen Caldecott, author of the fabulous 'How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant.' We're going to have a joint launch party as our books are coming out on the same day.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Nanowrimo 2008

50,ooo words in one month? Can it be done? I managed it in 2005 (and wrote a massive chunk of BERSERK) There's 3 and a 1/2 hours to go before midnight when this crazy international writing challenge kicks off...On your marks... get set....

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Trip to Milan and Sardinia

Thanks to my Italian publishers, Il Castoro, I've just been to Milan and Sardinia on a whirl wind tour of events and nice dinners...

Visited La Libreria dei Ragazzi, the fabulous children's bookshop in Milan, and met the legendary Roberto Denti.

Then on to Cagliari for the BESTIVAL book amazing event with loads of children's authors and illustrators and madness.
And of course, the 'poo' exhibition....


Friday, 26 September 2008

West Oxfordshire Book Award

This event was held at Marlborough School in Woodstock. Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant won the award, congratulations...and BERSERK won Highly
Commended. Hurrah and thank you!

Can you see yourself in the photos?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Visit to St Katherine's School. Ham Green, Pill

I visited St Katherine's School today as part of the Bath Children's Literature Festival. I had a very enjoyable visit, speaking with 30+ year 8 and 9. Everyone participated in the writing exercises (maybe tempted by the prize of Justin Somper's Vampirates trilogy, and a pristine copy of BEAST)
I love it when students join in, ask questions and listen.
Thanks for a great visit!

And tomorrow is the West Oxfordshire Book Award, for which BERSERK has been shortlisted. Hurrah!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Bath Children's Literature Festival

I'll be at Bath Children's Literature Festival on Monday 22nd Sept at 6pm. The event is called
Writing for Young People and features myself, Sally Nicholls, Julia Green and Nicola Davies. It's in the Guildhall and costs £5... Welcome to the Bath Festival of Children's Literature

Thursday, 14 August 2008


BEDLAM is now being copy edited, and I expect to recieve the proofs over the next month or so. It's due to come out in January 09...

Now I'm thinking about the next books.
Also WOW 366 is out in the shops now. (for more info see below) My story is on page 417. I think my mate Elen Caldecot's story is the best in the book. (and her book 'How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant' Bloomsbury, is out in Jan '09!)

Buy Wow! 366 from Amazon

Friday, 27 June 2008


BEAST has been shortlisted for this prestigious award in Germany. Will find out on Sept 1st who wins...
A good week!!
And congratulations to Philip Reeves for winning the Carnegie medal this year with Here Lies Arthur. I've just bought my copy... can't wait to read it!


Yippeee! BERSERK won this award at the Guildhall in Leicester on Tuesday 24th June!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Highland Children's Book Award

Berserk was shortlisted for the Highland Children's Book Award. The winners were announced yesterday. Sadly I couldn't make it. Berserk didn't win but it is very nice to get shorlisted... hurrah!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Behind the Beast

Beast is set in the West Country. Gruton Reservoir is a fictional place, but I took a lot of inspiration from Clatworthy and Wimbleball reservoirs on the Brendon Hills where I grew up. Here are some pictures from my notebook:

WOW speedy stories

I have a new very short story -Free Range- in the Anthology 'WOW 366' published by Scholastic August 2008 to celebrate National Year of Reading...


When they closed the asylum they thought everyone had left...

Lexi falls into deep trouble in a derelict asylum...

BEDLAM features Lexi, the girlfriend of Chas from BERSERK. (And Chas is the little brother of Stephen, from BEAST) The books can be read as a sequence, but also make sense if you read as stand alone novels.

Order Bedlam from Amazon


What happens when there's no-one around to tell you when to stop?

When fifteen year old Chas finds a website asking people to write to prisoners on Death Row, he thinks it would be funny to get letters from a murderer. He writes to an inmate, pretending to be his mum. When his new pen-pal is unexpectedly released, Chas' already problematic life spirals horribly out of control...

Chas is the younger brother of Stephen, the hero of Ally's debut novel Beast.
"Written with a verve and confidence that never lets up"... "This excellent novel well deserves the large audience it should get." Nicholas Tucker, The Independent
Winner of the Leicester Book of the Year Award 2008
Winner of the North East Teenage Book Award 2008
Shortlisted for the Manchester Book Award '07
Shortlisted for the Highland Children's Book Award 2008
Highly Commended for the West Oxfordshire Book Award 2008
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2008

Buy Berserk from Amazon


"I buy one pig a month. I can't afford any more. I've no idea whether this is enough, but it keeps the Beast alive. He's grown so big. I'm going crazy with worry someone will discover him."

Stephen is a boy with a dangerous secret. For four years he has kept a terrifying creature locked up in a remote hiding place. Once just a vicious litle baby, it is now a powerful predator, big and hungry enough to break free from its rusting cage.

Stephen has other problems. A mother he never sees, and a father he wishes were dead. His foster family are scare of him - he's not a boy who plays by the rules. But his extraordinary struggle to free himself of his Beast makes him a hero you will never forget.

"Ally Kennen is a gripping and original new children's novelist... I really love this book" Amanda Craig, The Times

"Beast has a tension that never lets up. Ally Kennen is already a remarkable assured writer" The Independent

"An exceptional first novel" Books for Keeps
Beast has been shortlisted for:
Carnegie Medal 2007
Branford Boase Award 2007
Booktrust Teenage Prize 2006
Bolton Book Award
Leicester Book Award
Berkshire Book Award
Winner of the Manchester Book Award 2007
Shortlisted for the Gustav-Heinemann-Friedenspreis
Published in 13 languages

Buy Beast from Amazon!

Scottish Book Trust

I've got a new story 'Rip-Tide' on the Scottish book trust website.
The direct link to the story is
The story features Lexi, hero of BEDLAM...
And the link to the writer-in-residence homepage, where all the online stories are featured, is