The Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Blackman is a sequence of young adult, science fiction, novels and a novella set in a fictional, racist, dystopia.
The Noughts & Crosses
series is set in a world where the people with black skin (Crosses) are dominant over the white people (noughts). The title appears reference to the game known in Britain as "noughts and crosses" and in the United States as "tic tac toe
", where O represents a nought (or zero) and X a cross. The first book and its sequels use first person
narration, with the narrator alternating between chapters, and an X or O before the narrator's name indicates their race. Mixed-race Callie-Rose is represented by an O and X combined.
The books' world is quite similar to early 21st century Britain but racism and prejudice are much more overt, with resemblances to apartheid in South Africa. The series tells the story of several characters from two interlinked families with very different positions in society.
It can be compared with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in that the two leads—Sephy and Callum—"shouldn't" be in love because they are of a different skin color, in the same way that Romeo and Juliet belong to two feuding families.
The first book, Noughts & Crosses
, was adapted and directed by former RSC Associate Dominic Cooke on stage. The play, which has garnered positive reviews is performed by the Royal Shakespeare company, with Richard Madden and Ony Uhiara in the lead roles of Callum and Sephy. Noughts and Crosses is currently on its UK tour.
Awards and nominations
- 2002, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year.
- 2002, Red House Children's Book Award.
- 2002, Sheffield Children's Book Award.
- 2003, Wirral Paperback of the Year Award.
- 2004, Fantastic Fiction Award.
- 2005, Berkshire Book Award (shortlist).
- 2005, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year (shortlist).
- 2005, Redbridge Teenage book Award (shortlist).
- 2006, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year (shortlist).
- 2006, Staffordshire Young People's Book of the Year.