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Narinder Dhami (1958-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

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Born 1958, in Wolverhampton, England; Education: University of Birmingham, B.A., 1980.

Addresses

Agent—Rosemary Canter, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HA, England.

Career

Worked as a primary school teacher in London, England, c. 1980-90; full time writer, 1990—.

Honors Awards

TSB Birmingham Children's Book Award, 1996, for Starring Alice Mackenzie; Big-Three Book Award, 2000-01, for Animal Crackers.

Writings

(With Kate Rogers) A Medal for Malina, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1990.

(With Julie Park) Cat's Eyes, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1993.

Angel Face, Lions (London, England), 1995.

My Secret Love by Andy Brown, illustrated by Julie Anderson, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1995.

Starring Alice Mackenzie, Collins (London, England), 1996.

Narinder Dhami

Me and My Big Mouth, illustrated by Julie Anderson, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1997.

Oh Brother!, BBC (London, England), 1998.

Spotlight on Sunita, BBC (London, England), 1998.

The Cool Rule, illustrated by Gary Andrews, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1998.

(Adapter) The Case of the Disappearing Dragon (screenplay novelization), Collins (London, England), 1998.

Who's Who?, illustrated by Julie Anderson, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1998.

Annie's Game, Corgi (London, England), 1999.

Animal Crackers, illustrated by Tony Blundell, Young Corgi (London, England), 2000.

Genius Games, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2001.

(Adapter) Charles Dickens, Christmas Carol: The Movie, Corgi Yearling (London, England), 2001.

(Adapter) Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra, and Paul Mayeda Berges, Bend It like Beckham (screenplay novelization), Hodder (London, England), 2002.

Changing Places, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.

(Adapter) Cinderella ("Disney Princess" series), Puffin (London, England), 2003.

(Adapter) Disney's The Lion King, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

(Adapter) Disney's The Jungle Book, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

(Adapter) Disney's The Aristocats, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

(Adapter) Disney's Lady and the Tramp, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

(Adapter) Sleeping Beauty ("Disney Princess" series), Puffin (London, England), 2003.

Bindi Babes, Corgi Yearling (London, England), 2003, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2004.

Bollywood Babes, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2005.

"ANIMAL STARS" SERIES; ILLUSTRATED BY STRAWBERRIE DONNELLY

Harry's Starring Role, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

Casper in the Spotlight, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

Spike's Secret, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

Midnight the Movie Star, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

Casper in the Spotlight, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

Trixie's Magic Trick, Hodder (London, England), 1999.

"SLEEPOVER CLUB" SERIES

Starring the Sleepover Club, Collins (London, England), 1997.

The Sleepover Club Sleeps Out, Collins (London, England), 1997.

Sleepover in Spain, Collins (London, England), 1998.

Sleepover Girls and Friends, Collins (London, England), 1999.

Sleepover Girls Go Designer, Collins (London, England), 1999.

Vive le Sleepover Club!, Collins (London, England), 2000.

Sari Sleepover, Collins (London, England), 2000.

Sleepover Club Down Under, Collins (London, England), 2000.

Sleepover Girls Go Karting, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Sleepoverclub.com, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Sleepover Girls on the Ball (summer special), Collins (London, England), 2001.

Contributor to Writers News.

Adaptations

Angel Face has been optioned by a film company; the "Sleepover Club" series was adapted as a television series in Australia.

Sidelights

When Narinder Dhami graduated from college, her greatest interest was to teach, and for ten years she put off her writing and worked as a primary school teacher in London. However, in 1990, Dhami published A Medal for Malina, and since then she has been writing full time. By 2000, she had written nearly two hundred short stories and magazine articles, and the popularity of her novels has brought her invitations to visit schools and libraries.

The idea for A Medal for Malina came from one of Dhami's students. "I'd just left my teaching job and was wondering what to write about, when I remembered a little girl at the school I'd just left," the author explained in an online interview with Children's Books UK. "She was very shy and quiet, but an extremely fast runner, and she became the inspiration for Malina." Dhami only submitted A Medal for Malina to one publisher, and it was accepted very quickly. Later, Dhami became one of the authors who signed on to continue the "Sleepover Club" series about five girls who spend their sleep-overs dealing with issues such as dieting, boys, and teenage life. The series became the basis for a popular Australian television show of the same title.

Dhami has also adapted several screenplays into book form, the best-known being Bend It like Beckham. Jess, a Sikh girl, wants to be a "footballer"—soccer player—but knows her parents will not approve. Jess joins a ladies' team, and manages to hide her sports involvement from her parents until her ability is noticed by a talent scout. "Dhami is set to score a big hit," wrote a contributor to the Cambridge News in reaction to the novelization of the popular film.

Both Genius Games and Bindi Babes focus on siblings. In Genius Games Jack, a sixth grader, has to deal with his kindergartener genius of a sister, Annie. Still, something doesn't seem quite right about Annie; although she is brilliant, Jack often catches her talking to herself, and when asked she explains she is talking with a time-traveler from the twenty-fifth century. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, called Genius Games "a smoothly written, fast-moving story."

Bindi Babes features three sisters who have recently lost their mother; now they are making every attempt to reverse their father's decision to have them live in the care of their aunt. "Much of the charm of the novel lies in the banter between the sisters," praised Lindsey Fraser in the London Guardian.

Dhami writes from her home in Cambridge, England, where she lives with her husband and their five cats. While bemoaning her lack of typing skills, she enjoys her writing career, telling Children's Books UK: "The most fun is spending a lot of time working on a story and then seeing it come together very satisfyingly, with all the different threads weaving together to make a satisfying whole. Of course, the opposite to that is when it doesn't work, and you end up chucking it away and starting again….!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Genius Games, p. 318.

Cambridge News (Cambridge, England), April 12, 2002, "Writer Tackles Tale of Football-crazy Girl." Guardian (London, England), October 28, 2003, Lindsey Fraser, review of Bindi Babes, p. 61.

Horn Book, May, 2001, review of Genius Games, p. 321.

School Library Journal, July, 2001, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Genius Games, p. 106.

ONLINE

Children's Books UK Web site, http://www.cbuk.info/ (February 8, 2004), interview with Dhami.

Narinder Dhami Home Page, http://www.narinderdhami.com/ (June 15, 2004).

Farrukh Dhondy (1944-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next]

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