Growing up in the Philippines, Candy Gourlay wondered why all the books she ever loved only featured pink-skinned children who lived in snow-covered worlds that didn’t resemble her steamy, tropical home in Manila. As a result, it took her years to fulfil her dream of becoming an author – and years to learn that Filipino stories too, belong in the pages of books. Her latest novel Bone Talk was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and received glowing reviews – it is set in a historical moment in the Philippines when headhunting tribes came face to face with American invading forces for the first time. This year she published her first picture book, Is It a Mermaid, set in an idyllic white sand island typical of the Philippines, with a heartfelt eco message. Candy’s other novels for young readers, Tall Story and Shine, have been published to acclaim and listed for many prizes such as the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Book Prize. Both novels won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe. She lives in London with her family, where she wages war on the snails in her garden.
Words Away Salon: Writing For Children