GRINNY: A new old favourite

It’s a huge week! Not only is it July pub week, but it is also Independent Booksellers Week! To celebrate, we’ve invited a few fantastic independent booksellers to write about our books publishing this week, and to let us know what they’re up to for IBW.

Today’s blog is from Katie Clapham, who helps run the fabulous Storytellers Inc. in Lancashire. Katie writes below about discovering the newly republished classic GRINNY for the first time. Katie also shares a bit about the activities for she has planned for IBW, so make sure you drop by Storytellers Inc. if you’re in the area!


For some, that name recalls a deep-seated fear from the depths of their youth, wedged somewhere between an inexplicable worry about the threat of UFO’s and that natural repulsion that some old ladies just seem to incite.

‘You Remember Me’ is both Grinny’s hypnotic catchphrase and the name of the story’s stunning sequel. Actually, Grinny, I don’t remember you at all. Grinny isn’t a book from my childhood – but it’s a book I’m hoping I can invade other people’s with, so I’m delighted that Hot Key Books are reissuing it for a new audience (me included!) including both stories and an introduction from the lady of the hour herself, Malorie Blackman.


These two short stories offer a strobe of disturbing violet light that basks in that original fear of aliens – namely that they’re intent on world domination. Turns out they are, but they didn’t bank on Timothy Carpenter and his dramatic sister Beth trying to stop them. Twice!

The set-up in both stories is fabulously chilling; Grinny invites herself into the Carpenter household as their Great Aunt Emma, then reveals herself to be something quite different after a series of seriously suspicious events, while the second story moves into the future to see Tim and Beth battle the follow-up attack, this time led by a glamorous celebrity that seems to have captured the nations’ heart (and minds! Arrghhh).

Reading it today, it feels like quite a retro idea but its delicious simplicity makes it quite radical and refreshing in amongst today’s offerings. No one’s looking to make friends (or date) the aliens, this isn’t science fiction that is heavy in theory or technology and like all the best sci-fi, it raises real questions about our society – questions that remain important 40 years after they were written.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction – it too often leads into fantasy territory that I struggle to stay interested in, but I’d happily read more from Nicholas Fisk after this. The text is smart, snappy and funny. Even the format – a diary/letter style (with Fisk himself featured as a correspondent) adds another layer of interest. I can’t wait to sell this horrible little gem in my shop; GRINNY and YOU REMEMBER ME, I certainly will now!

What are you doing to celebrate Independent Booksellers Week?

Here at Storytellers, Inc. we’re celebrating Independent Booksellers Week with a series of events including two author visits, parties, games and offers.  We are delighted to have the IBW Collectibles available in-store including the recent Carnegie winner, Maggot Moon. You can read our full schedule of events on our website and we’ll be posting updates throughout the week on our blog where you can also view our IBW poster series.

We love any excuse to shout about indie bookselling so we’re thrilled that for one week the whole country could be listening. Bookshops on the high street are really important and its exciting initiatives like IBW that can energise booksellers and book buyers everywhere.

What are your memories of Grinny? Share them below or tweet at us using #grinnymemories.


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