As I seem to have stumbled into writing a series of entries about gifted friends, I might as well draw a line on that subject (for now) with a word about Melvin Burgess. A few years ago (2003, I think) I was invited back to Dundee Contemporary Arts where I was part of some panel discussions about young people and film. Mairi Thomas picked me and Melvin up at the airport and on the drive to Dundee he and I had our first chance to get to know each other. Over the following days we managed somehow to like and dislike each other at the same time; Melvin, like his writing, can be abrasive and provocative, I, like my writing, would be a bit more in the old style. This didn't stop us from remaining in touch after the Dundee encounter and when Melvin was over in Berlin as a guest of the Literary Festival he contacted me and we met up a few times.
Melvin has a fantastic website and a very active myspace. He has also written a great body of successful, challenging books. If you don't know about Melvin or haven't read any of his books, there is something missing in your life!