Tributes have flooded in for the much-loved writer, who wrote more than 40 books for children and adults including the recent Be the Change handbooks
‘Above all, a wonderful human’ … Marcus Sedgwick. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian
Author Marcus Sedgwick, who wrote more than 40 books for children and adults, has died aged 54. His literary agency RCW has confirmed his death, which it described as “unexpected”.
Sedgwick’s work was shortlisted for more than 30 awards, including five nominations for the Carnegie medal, two for the Edgar Allan Poe award and four for the Guardian children’s fiction prize.
He was also the most noted author in the history of the Printz award, with one win and two honour books. He won the Branford Boase award for his debut novel, Floodland, and the Booktrust Teenage prize for My Swordhand Is Singing.
Fellow children’s authors posted tributes on Twitter, with Julia and the Shark author Kiran Millwood-Hargrave tweeting that Sedgwick’s work “has a huge influence on [her] writing”.
“His unabashed willingness to step into the dark, split its seams and find the stars was something I treasured,” she added. “He was an astonishing storyteller, and a formidable person to meet. Thinking of his loved ones.”
Lark author Anthony McGowan tweeted he was “devastated to hear the terrible news”, calling Sedgwick a “superb writer” who “did things that no one else was doing in YA”.
Sedgwick was born and raised in a small village in east Kent and lived most recently in the south of France. He had worked as a tutor at the Arvon Foundation, a charity that runs creative writing courses, events and retreats. The foundation said it was “beyond saddened to learn of Marcus Sedgwick’s passing”.
“A nicer man and more caring tutor you couldn’t hope to have met,” it added. “A great writer but, above all, a wonderful human.”
Sedgwick’s most recent books were the handbooks for children Be the Change: Be Calm – Rise Up and Don’t Let Anxiety Hold You Back and Be the Change: Be Kind – Rise Up and Make a Difference to the World, both published in August. The author described the books as “brilliant interactive and accessible resources for kids to learn about the importance of empathy and mental health – so they can be the change they want to see.”
In an interview with the Letterpress Project in February, Sedgwick said: “I think a successful book is one that leaves the reader in a slightly different place from where they were before they read it.”
In a piece about his writing shed for the Guardian in 2014, he wrote: “As a writer, there’s a process that somewhere occurs in your head; a collision between the fantasy space of your imagination and the outside world.”