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So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

Sadly, we have decided that it is impossible to continue with Catalyst at the moment.

Our thanks to all of the authors who came to visit over the years, the librarians and teachers who supported us and most importantly, of course, to the readers. We hope we’ve helped you to discover new stories and new storytellers, and  that you continue to use libraries to explore for yourselves.

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Kirkland at Teen Titles

Kirkland Ciccone gave an interview to Teen Titles magazine. If you are a fan of Kirkland’s, you won’t want to miss it.

There’s a link to the interview at this link here.

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Catalyst 2014 Awards

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Catalyst Award 2014

Congratulations to

Kirkland Ciccone


Conjuring the Infinite

Winner of the 2014 Catalyst Book Award


When he heard the news, Kirkland was quite overcome, but managed to choke out a couple of words,

This is the best sort of award to win, because it’s voted for by readers.

I would like to thank my driver, my nanny, my assistant, my cleaner, and my personal typist…I would like to thank them, but I don’t actually emply a nanny, assistant, cleaner or personal typist.  Sorry!  So instead I’d like to thank my publisher, the librarians of every library and school in North Lanarkshire, and the readers who voted for me.  THANK YOU.

The previous winners of the Catalyst Book Award are some of the best writers YA fiction has to offer.  I’m delighted to be in that sort of company.

 Our commiserations and thanks to Kevin Brooks, Charlie Fletcher and Sarah Mussi.

Votes from the young people of North Lanarkshire through public libraries, school libraries, and classrooms.

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Catalyst Award 2014 – Voting Open

It’s time for the young people of North Lanarkshire to cast their votes to decide the winner of the Catalyst Book Award 2014. Votes can be cast in high schools or public libraries throughout North Lanarkshire, between Tuesday 27th May and Monday 16th June 2014.

Ask your local librarian for a voting slip and have your say!

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Kirkland Ciccone at Clyde Valley

North Lanarkshire author, Kirkland Ciccone, recently visited Clyde Valley High School. Kirkland addressed a receptive audience of S3 pupils from Mrs Cimmino’s class and spoke about his debut novel, Conjuring the Infinite.


An enthusiastic exponent of books and reading, Kirkland delivered a highly amusing talk while emphasising the educational and recreational benefits to be gained from reading.2013_1115_kirkland2

Bringing his visit to a close Kirkland offered a signed copy of Conjuring the Infinite as a prize to the pupil who could best define infinity.

All those present thoroughly enjoyed Kirkland’s visit to the school.


Catalyst Shortlist 2014

Young people in schools and libraries have cast their votes for this year’s Catalyst shortlist.

In no particular order, the lucky books are:

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks 


Conjuring the infinite by Kirkland Ciccone


Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher


Siege by Sarah Mussi


Commiserations to those who didn’t make it to the shortlist. The voting was extremely close, and there were plenty of people fighting for their particular favourites.

Voting for the winner will run from 26th May – 16th June 2014


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Kirkland Ciccone – in their own words

Kirkland Ciccone visited OLHS to talk about his life, love of reading and collection of insane book titles.

Here’s what his audience thought:

Name: AG
Best bit:
his life story
What did you learn: boys can read girly books
Loved it: you can’t predict what’s going to happen

Name: KS
Best bit: life story
What did you learn: anybody can write
Loved it: madness, magic, murder, everything

Name: KOH / EH
Best bit: all of it
What did you learn: that anyone can make it
Loved it: everything

Name: SAL
Best bit: I liked the stories about his brother
What did you learn: even though he’s a boy, you can still read girly books
Loved it: I loved that he wrote about his life

Name: CMcA
Best bit:
the best bit  was when he was telling us about his life
What did you learn: I learned that he got into books a lot when he was younger
Loved it: I loed when he dies halfway through

Name: S
Best bit:
his favourite books in his childhood
What did you learn: getting published was difficult

Name: CK
Best bit:
his life story
Loved it: Betty the machete

Name: DMcG
Best bit:
funny book covers or the story about his brother
What did you learn: he reads and gets inspiration from other books
Loved it: stories and book covers

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Elizabeth Wein – Q&A

When Elizabeth came to launch the longlist, on Thursday 7th November at Chryston Cultural Centre, the pupils had lots of questions to ask. Unfortunately we ran out of time, however Elizabeth has very kindly emailed the answers to some of the unanswered questions.

 Do you prefer books or films?

That’s like asking do I prefer ice cream or chocolate – both! Sometimes I feel like watching a film and sometimes I feel like reading a book. However, I don’t always like books that are made into films or films that are made into books. I’ve found that whichever comes first is usually better than the adaptation.

Kindle or printed book?

Definitely printed book. I have a Kindle and I use it a lot, and I’ve just finished writing an essay on Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy which would have been impossible without the Kindle’s search function. But after a couple of years of using the Kindle I still prefer the feel and look of a printed book. The Kindle will have to get a lot smarter and prettier before I like it better.

What would you love to write a book about?

The Russian women who were fighter pilots and bombers for the Soviet Union during World War II. The Russian women bomber pilots flew these rickety old planes, in the dark, over German lines. They’d stop their engines so that they could glide down without making a noise, dump their bombs, then start their engines in the air and fly off. The Germans hated them so much they called them “Night Witches” – the Soviets called them “Stalin’s Falcons.” I feel like I don’t know enough about Russian culture to write about them, but they are amazing people.

What is your next book going to be about?

More flying! My next book is about a couple of teens whose mother is a stunt pilot. The story takes place in 1935 during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia.

What was your favourite book growing up?

This sounds kind of soppy, but it was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote The Secret Garden. The heroine of A Little Princess, Sara Crewe, is kind of the basis for every character I’ve ever made up.

What was the last fiction book you read?

I think it was ‘Allegiant’ by Veronica Roth

What is the best thing about being an author?

Meeting people. Definitely. Meeting other authors is a wonderful result of going to literary festivals, and meeting student readers at school visits is amazingly rewarding.

Thanks to Elizabeth


Catalyst Longlist Launch 2014

Thursday 7th November at Chryston Cultural Centre saw the Catalyst Book Awards 2014 being launched. In the audience were pupils from Chryston and Caldervale high schools along with visiting librarians, all excited to find out which books had made it onto the longlist. The pupils were treated to an entertaining talk from Catalyst 2013 Award winner, Elizabeth Wein. She kept the pupils enthralled talking about her book ‘Code Name Verity’ and tales of women pilots throughout history. Elizabeth then had the honour of announcing the 16 books that had made it through the committee’s criteria to be in with a chance of being voted the best read for teenagers in 2014.

Catalyst is all about discovering and promoting the most exciting and thought provoking reading for teenagers in North Lanarkshire. This year we have a larger number of books in the longlist which hopefully means we are able to cater for all tastes.

The 16 books to make the longlist for 2014 are:

‘Bodyguard: Hostage’ – Chris Bradford           ‘The Bunker Diary’ – Kevin Brooks

‘Anthem for Jackson Dawes’ – Celia Bryce      ‘How to Fall’ – Jane Casey

‘Conjuring the Infinite’ – Kirkland Ciccone        ‘Undone’ – Cat Clarke

‘Waiting for Gonzo’ – Dave Cousins                ‘After Tomorrow’ – Gillian Cross

‘OMG! Is this actually my life?’ – Rae Earl       ‘Far Rock Away’ – Charlie Fletcher

‘Pantomime’ – Laura Lam                                ‘Quantum Drop’ – Saci Lloyd

‘Siege’ – Sarah Mussi                                      ‘Ketchup Clouds’ – Annabel Pitcher

‘Nowhere’ – Jon Robinson                               ‘The Drowning’ – Rachel Ward

Young people from all 24 North Lanarkshire High schools are encouraged to get involved in the Catalyst experience in a number of ways; from book groups within school or public libraries, to author visits and book reviews on the blog. Young people will then vote on which books in the longlist should make it onto the Catalyst shortlist and go forward to win the Catalyst Book Award 2014.

16 books – 1 Winner

 Who Will Win? You Decide