The award-winning author Patrick Ness has written an exclusive short story for the reading charity Booktrust, where he is currently writer in residence.
The winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2008 began his role as Booktrust’s first writer in residence in March 2009. Since then he has produced a fortnightly blog, tips and advice for writers and a video of his work in schools.
The story, entitled ‘The New World: A story of Chaos Walking,’ is a prequel to his award-winning novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in his bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy.
Set before the first meeting of the heroes Viola and Todd, ‘The New World’ tells the dramatic story of Viola’s arrival on the planet she’s spent her entire life travelling towards. Ness explores Viola’s relationship with her family as he reveals the trauma of her terrifying introduction to this alien world, which she must now face alone.
An extract from ‘The New World’:
‘There it is,’ my mother says, and what she means is that the dot we’ve been nearing for weeks, the one that’s been growing into a larger dot with two smaller dots circling it, has now become even larger than that, growing from a dot to a disc, shining back the light from its sun, until you can see the blue of its oceans, the green of its forests, the white of its polar caps, a circle of colour against the black beyond.
Our new home, the one we’ve been travelling towards since way before I was even born.
We’re the first ones to see it for real, not through telescopes, not through computer mapping, not even in my own drawings in the art classes I take on the Beta with Bradley Tench, but through just the couple centimetres of glass in the cockpit viewscreen.
We’re the first ones to see it with our own eyes.
‘The New World,’ my father says, putting a hand on my shoulder. ‘What do you think we’ll find there?’
Patrick Ness commented:
‘The Booktrust writer in residency has been terrific so far, a great place to talk about writing with interested (and interesting) new writers. It was time to put my money where my advice is and offer a story of my own, a process just as scary for me as it is for anybody else.’
The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer are the first two novels in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy. Both are published by Walker and available from all good booksellers now.