Beverley Naidoo was born in South Africa. As a student she became involved in resistance to apartheid leading to detention and then exile in England. She could return freely after Nelson Mandela’s release from jail, 26 years later.
Her first children’s book, the award-winningJourney to Jo’burg, was banned in South Africa until 1991.
Elsewhere, it opened a window for hundreds of thousands of readers on to what apartheid meant for children. In novels linked to the continent of her birth –Burn My Heart set in Kenya; No Turning Back about a runaway boy in Jo’burg– as well as short stories in Out of Bounds (Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu),her characters, black and white, are caught in situations she calls ‘more dangerous than any fantasy’. Her many awards include the prestigious Carnegie Medal for The Other Side of Truth about two refugee children smuggled to London.Its sequel Web of Lies (5* Books for Keeps) explores the lure of gangs.