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Julian Sedgwick is the author of six books for children, and co-author of the graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills and illustrated novel Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black. On the way to realising his childhood ambition to write, Julian read Chinese Studies and Philosophy at Cambridge, before working as a bookseller, painter, researcher and script developer for film and TV, and shiatsu therapist. For the last three years Julian has been patron of reading for Leighton Park School and has now visited over 150 schools both in the UK and abroad. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black has just been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2020. Julian lives near Ely, Cambridgeshire is married and has two grown-up sons. He still combines writing with his work as a therapist. In his spare time he draws as much as possible, juggles torches and knives, tries his best to learn Japanese - and waits for the weather to get cold enough to go fen skating.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | 15-year-old Yūki Hara Jones is only ¼ Japanese, but she has a deep bond with the country and her beloved grandpa there. Suffering badly from anxiety she feels she will be helped by a visit to see him. Her grandpa, a renowned Manga artist, feels she can be helped by rediscovering the small girl who loved to draw, but just as they are opening her old albums, the earthquake hits and although she survives he does not. Trying to recuperate back in England she can still feel there is unfinished business in Japan and is determined to try to understand it. Helped by her friend Taka, who has also lost everything in the disaster and has his own demons to follow, they take their quest illegally back into the disaster zone. This is an incredibly intense and atmospheric read- the prose descriptions of the disaster and its aftermath are breathtakingly powerful. But it is also a story suffused with Japanese legend and modern-day ghost stories. Manga is an important theme throughout the book - Yūki’s recovery is bound up with the creation of her own manga story and manga is so important to the character of her grandpa and her own love of Japan and so it is entirely appropriate that manga is used to tell the story. The superb drawings seamlessly reveal the other worldly and spiritual nature of Yūki and Taka’s story and the multi-layered whole becomes a truly immersive and compulsive reading experience that will linger long in a reader’s thoughts. Highly recommended.