Bali Rai

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Bali Rai
Born (1971-11-30) 30 November 1971 (age 48)
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
GenreYoung adult fiction
Notable works(Un)arranged Marriage, Rani and Sukh, Killing Honour

Bali Rai (born 30 October 1971) is an English author of children's and young adult fiction.

Early life[edit]

Rai was born in Leicester in 1971, to Punjabi parents.[1] At the age of eleven, he read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend, which inspired him to take up writing. He has also cited Roald Dahl as an early influence on his writing.[2] He attended Judgemeadow Community College, moving to Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College for sixth form.

In 1991, Rai moved to London to study at Southbank University, graduating with a 2:1 in Politics.[3] He stayed in London for two years after graduating, but was forced to return to Leicester due to personal circumstances. He had a number of jobs, including working for a supermarket, in telesales, and managing a bar. He began to write his first novel, (Un)arranged Marriage, during this period.[2]

Writing career[edit]

Rai showed parts of his debut novel, (Un)arranged Marriage, to literary agent Jennifer Luithlen, who agreed to represent him. Once the novel had been edited, Rai signed a contract with Transworld. The novel was published in 2001 to critical acclaim.

Rani & Sukh, which Rai described as a "true mash-up of Shakespeare, Bollywood and Punjabi folk tales", was published in 2004 and later became a GCSE set-text.[1] He has also written several books for dyslexia-friendly publisher Barrington Stoke, such as Dream On and its sequel Game On. His work has been published in various anthologies, including the 2017 book Here I Stand, raising money and awareness for the human rights charity Amnesty International.

Rai has made appearances on television and radio to discuss racism, his writing, and promoting reading for pleasure.[4][5] He has also been an ambassador for The Reading Agency's Reading Ahead programme, and was BookTrust's sixth online writer-in-residence.[6]. In 2019 he became an Ambassador for audiobook charity Listening Books.

In 2014, Rai received an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University in Leicester.[7]


Year Award
2002 Angus Book Award, for (Un)arranged Marriage[8]
2002 Leicester Children's Book Award, for (Un)arranged Marriage[9]
2002 Stockport Schools' Book Award, for (Un)arranged Marriage[10]
2004 Calderdale Book of the Year, for The Crew[11]
2004 Leicester Children's Book Award, for The Crew[11]
2004 North Lanarkshire Book Award, for (Un)arranged Marriage[11]
2005 IBBY Sweden Silverstjärnor (Silver Star), for the Swedish translation of Rani and Sukh[12]
2005 Redbridge Teenage Book Award, for Rani and Sukh[13]
2006 Renfrewshire Teenage Book Award, for Rani and Sukh[11]
2011 North East Teenage Book Award, for Killing Honour[14]
2014 Honorary doctorate from De Montfort University, Leicester[7]
2015 Leeds Book Award (age 14-16), for Web of Darkness[15]
2015 Shropshire Teenage Book Award, for Web of Darkness[16]
2015 Southern Schools Book Award, for Web of Darkness[17]


  • (Un)arranged Marriage (2001)
  • The Crew (2003)
  • What's Your Problem? (2003)
  • Rani and Sukh (2004)
  • The Whisper (2005)
  • Dominoes and Other Stories (2005)
  • The Last Taboo (2006)
  • The Angel Collector (2007)
  • City of Ghosts (2009)
  • Killing Honour (2011)
  • The Guru and The King (2012)
  • Fire City (2012)
  • Demon Hunter (2012)
  • The Night Run (2014)
  • Kiss of Death (2014)
  • Web of Darkness (2014)
  • Tales from India (2017)

Soccer Squad series[edit]

  • Starting Eleven (2008)
  • Missing! (2008)
  • Stars! (2008)
  • Glory! (2008)

Tales from Devana High series[edit]

  • Concrete Chips (2004)
  • Sold as Seen (2005)
  • Jugglin' (2006)
  • Trouble (2013)
  • Secrets (2013)

Barrington Stoke[edit]

  • Dream On (2002)
  • Two Timer (2005)
  • Revenge of the Number Two (2007)
  • Are You Kidding? (2008)
  • Them and Us (2009)
  • The Gun (2011)
  • Shivers (2013)
  • Old Dog, New Tricks (2014)
  • Game On (2015), sequel to Dream On
  • The Harder They Fall (2017)


  • Politics: Cutting Through the Crap (2006)


Bali Rai has contributed short stories to a number of anthologies, including:


  1. ^ a b "Sohni Mehiwal: Bali Rai". Tamarind Books Blog. Tamarind Books. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Bali Rai Biography". Bali Rai Official Website. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Bali Rai". BookTrust. BookTrust. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Four Thought, Series 2, Bali Rai: Stop Talking About Race". BBC Radio 4. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Sonia Deol, Author Bali Rai". BBC Asian Network. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Writer in Residence Bali Rai". BookTrust. BookTrust. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Summer Graduations - Saturday PM". Facebook. De Montfort University. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived: Angus Book Award Winners". Books from Scotland. Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Book of the Year 2006 – award ceremony". Leicester City Council. Leicester City Council. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived: Winners From Previous Years". Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "Archived: Prizes & Awards". Kids at Random House. Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Tidigare mottagare av Silverstjärnor". IBBY Sverige. International Board on Books for Young People. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Redbridge Children's Book Awards". London Borough of Redbridge. London Borough of Redbridge. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  14. ^ "And the winner is..." North East Teenage Book Award. North East Teenage Book Award. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Winners - Leeds Book Awards". Leeds Book Awards. Leeds Libraries. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Teenage Book Award 2015 to be launched on 23 September". Shropshire Newsroom. Shropshire Council. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Southern Schools Book Award 2015 Presentation Evening". Southern Schools Book Award. Southern Schools Book Award. Retrieved 16 January 2018.

External links[edit]