Bajoria, Paul 1964–

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Bajoria, Paul 1964–

Personal

Born November 29, 1964, in York, England. Ethnicity: "White/Asian mixed race." Education: Oxford University, degree (English); University of Toronto, degree (English).

Addresses

Home—Northumberland, England. Agent—Christopher Little, Christopher Little Literary Agency, 10 Eel Brook Studios, 125 Moore Park Rd., London SW6 4PS, England. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer and radio producer. British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, radio reporter, then producer, 1989—.

Writings

The Printer's Devil: A Remarkable Story, illustrated by Bret Bertholf, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2004, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.

The God of Mischief, illustrated by Bret Bertholf, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2005, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

The City of Spirits, illustrated by Bret Bertholf, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2007.

Adaptations

The Printer's Devil and The God of Mischief were adapted as audiobooks, read by Katherine Kellgren, Recorded Books, 2006.

Sidelights

Paul Bajoria has worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation's Radio 4 since the late 1980s, first as a reporter and more recently as a writer and producer of documentaries and popular programs such as Counterpoint and Round Britain Quiz. An English major in college, he discovered a second outlet for his creative talent: writing for children. Bajoria's first middle-grade novel, The Printer's Devil: A Remarkable Story, was released in 2004 as the first installment in a suspenseful trilogy.

The Printer's Devil takes readers back in time to 1820s London and introduces Mog, a twelve-year-old orphan who escapes from an orphanage and finds a job as a printer's apprentice. Part of Mog's job is printing "WANTED" posters. When the orphan recognizes one of the criminals depicted, Mog links the man to the theft from a ship, the Sun of Calcutta, recently arrived from India. Soon the young apprentice is enmeshed in the city's criminal underworld, as murder, dirty back alleys, a brass camel, a boy who could be Mog's twin, and a scurrilous cast of characters gradually reveal the secret of the orphan's shadowed past. Calling The Printer's Devil an "entertaining adventure," Booklist contributor Krista Hutley added that "Mog's curious but foolhardy sense of adventure keeps things sailing at a good clip." In School Library Journal Elizabeth Bird described the novel as "a lively Dickensian adventure," and Vicky Smith maintained in her Horn Book review that Bajoria salts his story with "as many plot convolutions and double identities as anyone could ask."

Mog and Nick continue their adventures in The God of Mischief and The City of Spirits. By now realizing that they are twins, the thirteen year olds also know that something in their past is the key to averting a present danger. Sir Septimus Cloy, a distant relative, has summoned the twins to his country estate, Kniveacres Hall, where some ancient documents hint at sordid secrets. Soon dark things are stirring, their governess is found dead, and Cloy's ominous servants Bonefinger and Melibee may be at the center of a mounting threat. Hutley described The God of Mischief as "a strong sequel, featuring a pair of likable, spirited protagonists and … compelling mysteries." In School Library Journal Caitlin Augusta praised Bajoria for rewarding returning fans

of The Printer's Devil with a "readable mix of historical fiction, mystery, and adventure," and Horn Book critic Vicky Smith dubbed The God of Mischief "gothic melodrama at its juicy best."

"The stories that most captivated me as a child were those by authors such as Leon Garfield, Joan Aiken, and Alan Garner—novels either set in the past or in which the past was revealed to characters in the present," Bajoria once commented. "My most deeply cherished ambition was always to create stories that drew on this lifelong fascination. My writing is aimed at that age group for whom the process of reading provides the most complete escape, when the real world can almost literally melt away as a book is opened."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2005, Krista Hutley, review of The Printer's Devil: A Remarkable Story, p. 34; January 1, 2007, Krista Hutley, review of The God of Mischief, p. 78.

Horn Book, September-October, 2005, Vicky Smith, review of The Printer's Devil, p. 572; January-February, 2007, Vicky Smith, review of The God of Mischief, p. 62.

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, February, 2007, Justin Childress, review of The God of Mischief, p. 422.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of The Printer's Devil, p. 843; December 15, 2006, review of The God of Mischief, p. 1264.

School Library Journal, October, 2005, Elizabeth Bird, review of The Printer's Devil, p. 150; March, 2007, Caitlin Augusta, review of The God of Mischief, p. 203.

Sunday Times (London, England), November 7, 2004, Nicolette Jones, review of The Printer's Devil, p. 54.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2005, review of The Printer's Devil, p. 296; April, 2007, Rachelle Bilz, review of The God of Mischief, p. 42.

ONLINE

Hachette Books Web site,http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/ (March 10, 2008), "Paul Bajoria."