Read our interview with Lauren
Lauren James (founder)
Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World, among others.
Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award.
Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She teaches creative writing for many organisations, including Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.
Lauren is currently working on Green Rising, a Young Adult climate change thriller about nature, geoengineering and civil disobedience in the face of overwhelming corporate negligence, which will be published in 2021 with Walker Books.
YABA BADOE is a Ghanaian-British filmmaker and writer. A graduate of King’s College Cambridge, she was a civil servant in Ghana before becoming a general trainee with the BBC. She has taught in Spain and Jamaica and worked at the University of Ghana. Her short stories have been published in Critical Quarterly, African Love Stories and Daughters of Africa. Her first adult novel, True Murder, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2009. Her first YA novel, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award in 2018 and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award 2018. The Secret of the Purple Lake, a collection of interlinked fairy stories for children aged 9 to 12 was published by Cassava Republic in October 2017. Wolf Light, her 2nd YA novel, which tackles the theme of the climate crisis, was published by Zephyr in April 2019. Yaba lives in London.
My first traditionally published picture book, Danny and the Dream Dog came out Oct 2018 and my next is coming in April 2021. I’m excited to be working with the Marine Conservation Society on that one. It’s illustrated by artist and marine biologist Howard Gray. When not writing picture books, I can be found out plogging and occasionally blogging about litter and living a life less plastic.
The Gaia trilogy is a series of books set in the near future during a world war for water, released by Urbane Publications in 2017-19. I also have a short story included in Nothing Is As It Was, an anthology of Climate Fiction published by Retreat West. I’m a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and The Society of Authors.
Julie Bertagna is the acclaimed author of several novels for children and young adults, but is best known for her dystopian EXODUS trilogy. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
Julie Bertagna is an author with a track record for children’s and YA fiction that is both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Her dystopian sequence – EXODUS, ZENITH and AURORA has won her a loyal fanbase and garnered many stellar reviews. EXODUS was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year, won the Lancashire Children’s Book of the Year, won a Friends of the Earth Eco Award (UK) and a Santa Monica Green Literature Prize (US), US Booklist’s Top Ten SF/Fantasy for Youth 2008, The List’s Best Books of the 21st Century, and has been translated into many languages.
Zillah Bethell was born in the shadow of the volcano Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea. She grew up without shoes, toys or technology; consequently she spent a lot of time in the sea swimming and in canoes – and occasionally, to earn money, she took tourists gold-panning in the highlands of Wau and Bulolo. Zillah’s family returned to the UK when she was ten, and she was eventually educated at Oxford University and now lives in South Wales with her family.
Chris Beckett is a former social worker and now university lecturer who lives in Cambridge. In 2009 he won the Edge Hill Short Story competition for his collection of stories, The Turing Test.
Carys Bray is the author of a short story collection and three novels. She won the 2015 Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. Her work has been shortlisted for the Costa and Desmond Elliott Prizes.
Anne Charnock is the author of Dreams Before the Start of Time, winner of the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Her debut novel, A Calculated Life, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award and the 2013 Kitschies Golden Tentacle award. The Guardian featured Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind in “Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2015.” Anne’s novella, The Enclave, won the 2017 British Science Fiction Association Award for Short Fiction. And her latest novel is Bridge 108 (2020). Anne’s writing career began in journalism, and her articles appeared in The Guardian, New Scientist, International Herald Tribune and Geographical. She studied environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, and holds an MA in fine art from The Manchester School of Art. She was active for over ten years in the Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project in Cheshire, before moving to the Isle of Bute in Scotland.
Sarah Crossan has lived in Dublin, London and New York, and now lives in Hertfordshire. She graduated with a degree in philosophy and literature before training as an English and drama teacher at Cambridge University. Since completing a masters in creative writing, she has been working to promote creative writing in schools. The Weight of Water and Apple and Rain were both shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. In 2016, Sarah won the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as the YA Book Prize, the CBI Book of the Year award and the CLiPPA Poetry Award for her novel, One.
Ele Fountain worked as an editor in children’s publishing where she was responsible for launching and nurturing the careers of many prize-winning and bestselling authors. She lived in Addis Ababa for several years, where she wrote Boy 87, her debut novel. It won four awards and was nominated for nine more, including Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. Her second novel LOST published to critical acclaim earlier this year.
Read our interview with Hannah
Hannah Gold grew up in a family where books, animals, and the beauty of the outside world were ever present and is passionate about writing stories that share her love of the planet. She now lives in the UK with her tortoise, her cat, and her husband and, when not writing, is busy hunting for her next big animal story as well as practicing her roar. The Last Bear is her middle-grade debut.
Guinevere Glasfurd is a novelist and activist. Originally from Lancaster, she now lives on the edge of the Fens, north of Cambridge, with her husband and daughter. Her first novel, The Words in my Hand, was written with the support of a grant from Arts Council England and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and longlisted for the Prix du Roman FNAC. Her second novel, The Year Without Summer, a novel of climate crisis, was published in Feb 2020, was shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Gold Crown. Both novels are published by Two Roads Books (an imprint of John Murray Press). She is a MacDowell Fellow (2017-18) and has been awarded three grants from Arts Council England and the British Council. Her short fiction has appeared in Mslexia, The Scotsman and in a collection from The National Galleries of Scotland. In 2019, she was writer in residence at Wicken Fen, the National Trust’s oldest reserve.
Vashti Hardy is an author of middle grade fantasies published across the world in several languages. Wildspark won the Blue Peter Book Award ‘Best Story’ in 2020, and Brightstorm was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 and was also the Independent Booksellers Book of the Season. Vashti has an MA in Creative Writing and was previously a primary school teacher. She has a love of science and invention, and especially enjoys creating positive female STEM characters in her stories, exploring humans’ relationship with animals and nature, and asking mind-bending ‘what if’ questions.
Joan (Dritsas) Haig was born in Zambia, where she was weaned on avocados and stories. She moved as a teenager to the South Pacific and has also lived and worked in India and Nigeria. Joan’s debut novel Tiger Skin Rug (Cranachan Publishing, 2020) has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2021 and is a finalist in the People’s Book Prize winter 2020/21 showcase. During the 2020 lockdown, Joan edited Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children Living in Lockdown (Cranachan Publishing) a free, downloadable anthology by 40 children’s authors living in Scotland, and illustrated by Darren Gate. Joan’s forthcoming book for children is Talking History: 150 Years of Speeches, coauthored with Joan Lennon and the first in a new series imprint for Templar/Bonnier. Her next middle-grade novel, Where the Storm Cats Go, is a response to the increased frequency of cyclones, due to climate change, in the Southern Hemisphere. She recently started blogging for the Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
Tom Huddleston is a writer, musician and film journalist best known for his FLOODWORLD series of futuristic, climate-themed adventure stories. He currently lives in London. Tom is the author of several books for children including instalments in the STAR WARS: ADVENTURES IN WILD SPACE and WARHAMMER ADVENTURES series. Published in 2019 by Nosy Crow Books, his novel FLOODWORLD combines thrilling action with themes of ecological disaster and social inequality, and was followed in 2020 by a powerful sequel, DUSTROAD.
Emmi Itäranta (b. 1976) was born in Tampere, Finland, where she also grew up. She holds one MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Tampere, and another from the University of Kent, UK, where she began writing her debut novel Memory of Water as a part of her Creative Writing masters degree. She later completed the full manuscript in both Finnish and English. The novel won the Fantasy and Sci-fi Literary Contest organised by the Finnish publishing house Teos. It was published to enthusiastic reviews in Finland in 2012 under the title Teemestarin kirja. In 2015 the English language version, Memory of Water, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award in the US and the Arthur C. Clarke award in the UK. Translation rights to the award-winning novel have been sold in 21 territories to date. Itäranta’s second novel Kudottujen kujien kaupunki was published in 2015, and it won her the Tampere City Literary Award. In the UK the novel is known as The City of Woven Streets, and in the US as The Weaver. Itäranta’s professional background is an eclectic blend of writing-related activities, including stints as a columnist, theatre critic, dramaturge, scriptwriter and press officer. She lives in Canterbury, UK.
Vicki Jarrett is a novelist and short story writer from Edinburgh. Her first novel Nothing is Heavy was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year 2013. Her collection of short stories, The Way Out, published in 2015 was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and shortlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her latest novel, Always North, which moves into more speculative territory than her previous work, came out at the end of 2019 from Unsung Stories and was shortlisted for the Red Tentacle (Novel) Award in the Kitschies 2019.
Essay: Melting Ice and Rising Seas
Kate Kelly is a marine scientist by day and a writer by night, with short stories published in a number of SF magazines and anthologies, often inspired by her fascination with the sea. Her first novel, Red Rock, a Cli-Fi adventure for young adults, was published in 2013 by Curious Fox. Kate and her family live in Dorset UK and when she is not writing she takes to the sea on her paddleboard, or can be found wandering the remoter stretches of the South West Coast Path.
A J Kecojevic
I am the author behind award-winning adventure park Hobbledown in Surrey. I have just signed my two YA novels to the Untold Publishing Group. One of the books is Train, a sci-fi thriller about a group of teenagers who journey to the centre of the earth to fix a broken planet. The second novel is Arc, the story of a young biker witch who hears the voice of Joan of Arc. I have also written ‘The Laughing Shepherd’ (OUP 2020) for the Oxford Reading Tree programme. I often visit schools talking about my work or you might find me running creative writing workshops on the literary circuit. I live with my family in Oxford and I’m a school librarian.
Originally from sunny California, Laura Lam now lives in cloudy Scotland. Lam is a Sunday Times Bestselling author whose work includes the near-future space thriller, Goldilocks, feminist space opera Seven Devils (co-writtenwith Elizabeth May), BBC Radio 2 Book Club section False Hearts, the companion novel Shattered Minds, and the award-winning Micah Grey series: Pantomime, Shadowplay, and Masquerade. Lam’s short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more. Lam’s romance alter ego is Laura Ambrose. Lam lectures part-time at Edinburgh Napier University on the Creative Writing MA.
Josh Lacey is the author of many children’s books, including A Dog Called Grk and The Dragonsitter.
Gill Lewis is an award winning children’s author who writes about the wild world and our human place within in it.
N.E. McMorran is a British-Cypriot autistic writer, designer and teacher, who lives with her teen and their rescued dog, Ben. She’s a foodie and loves fixing stuff and helping people. Her special interests are autism, art, natural living, and finding a solution to end homelessness. She previously worked for the BBC as researcher and photographer, taught in London schools, and founded/managed a magazine publishing company. She currently volunteers with the NAS and facilitates the London based Spondylux Press, run by autistic professionals to publish inclusive works celebrating neurodiversity, sustainability and social change.
Jamie Mollart runs his own advertising company, and has won awards for marketing. Over the years he has been widely published in magazines, been a guest on some well-respected podcasts and blogs, and Patrick Neate called him ‘quite a writer’ on the Book Slam podcast. He is married and lives in Leicestershire with his family. His debut novel, The Zoo, was on the Amazon Rising Stars 2015 list. His second novel, Kings of a Dead World will be published on June 10 2021.
Paul McAuley worked as a research biologist and university lecturer before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of more than twenty novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and a BFI Film Classic monograph on Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil.
Ian is an SFF writer living in Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast. My first novel came out in 1988, my most recent in 2019. He’s a Hugo, John W Campbell Memorial, Sturgeon, Philip K Dick award winer, and been nominated for many others besides. He’s been translated into 15 languages.
Anna McKerrow is the author of YA, adult and children’s fiction as well as poetry. Her work explores magic, nature and environmental issues. She also writes for adults as Kennedy Kerr.
Moira McPartlin made a big impact with The Incomers, her debut novel set in Fife. It was shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and was a critical success. Her speculative fiction Sun Song Trilogy novels, Ways of the Doomed, Wants of the Silent and Star of Hope set in 2089, reflect many issues we are living with today. In September 2019 her short play A Handful Of Glaur was included as part of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Short Play Festival in New Zealand and in 2020 she will take up a writing fellowship at Hawthronden Castle. She is also a prolific writer of short stories and poetry and has been published in a variety of literary magazines. Moira is currently working on a fairytale graphic novel about irresponsible tourism. She lives in Stirling.
Read our interview with Simon
S. J Morden
Gateshead-based Dr Simon Morden trained as a planetary geologist, realised he was never going to get into space, and decided to write about it instead. His writing career includes an eclectic mix of short stories, novellas and novels which blend science fiction, fantasy and horror, a five-year stint as an editor for the British Science Fiction Association, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke Awards, and regular speaking engagements at the Greenbelt arts festival.
Simon has written ten novels and novellas. The wonderfully tentacular Another War (2005), was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award, and 2007 saw the publication of The Lost Art, which was shortlisted for the Catalyst Award. The first three books starring everybody’s favourite sweary Russian scientist, Samuil Petrovitch (Equations of Life, Theories of Flight, Degrees of Freedom) were published in three months of each other in 2011, and collectively won the Philip K Dick Award – the fourth Petrovitch, The Curve of the Earth, was published in 2013. In a departure to the usual high-tech mayhem, 2014 saw the arrival of Arcanum, a massive (and epic) alternate-history fantasy, which not only has flaming letters on the cover, but the story inside is “enthralling”, “intelligent”, “impeccably rendered” (Kirkus), and “engrossing”, “satisfying” and “leaving the reader craving for more (Publishers’ Weekly). Which was nice.
The Books of Down are a very different fantasy, where what you are is what you become: Down Station tells the trials and triumphs of Down’s latest refugees on the run from a disaster that might just have destroyed all of London, and The White City their continuing story to unravel the mysteries of their adopted world.
Read our interview with Joanne
Joanne O’Connell is a journalist whose inspiration sprang from a year-long column she wrote for the Guardian called ‘Goodbye Supermarkets’, during which she met food waste campaigners, such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and eco-chef Tom Hunt, and presented a short video about taking her children foraging on a Scottish Island. She has written for The Observer, The Times, The Daily Express, The Independent and various glossy magazines, and is the author of The Homemade Vegan, published in 2016. She occasionally appears on television and radio, most recently on BBC Breakfast and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Nicola Penfold was born in Billinge and grew up in Doncaster. She studied English at St John’s College, Cambridge. Nicola’s worked in a reference library and for a health charity, but being a writer was always the job she wanted most.
Nicola writes in the coffee shops and green spaces of North London, where she lives, and escapes when she can to wilder corners of the UK for adventures. She is married, with four children and two cats, and is an avid reader of children’s books.
Clare is the Head of English in a Berkshire school. She has enjoyed a varied career so far, including spending two years teaching in Ethiopia and seven years in inner London comprehensives. She loves working with teenagers and is particularly keen on the aspects of her job which involve the promotion of reading and writing for pleasure.
Clare holds an MEd in International Education and an MA in Late Medieval Literature, and has had educational resources published by Pearson, AQA, Teachit and Zigzag. These have included co-authored books, lesson resource collections and teaching units. She has also written education articles for The Independent and ‘Secret Teacher’ blogs for The Guardian. She has a particular interest in, and has carried out research into, the development of literacy skills across the curriculum.
Jelly is her first novel and was published by Chicken House in August 2019.
Emma Reynolds is an illustrator and author based in Manchester, UK.Her debut author-illustrator picture book ‘Amara and the Bats’ about bat conservation and finding hope in the face of climate anxiety, is due for release July 20th 2021 with Atheneum – Simon & Schuster. Passionate about storytelling and creating unique characters, Emma is the illustrator of ‘Rescuing Mrs. Birdley’, out now with Simon & Schuster. Emma started the #KidLit4Climate illustrated campaign, bringing together over 3,000 children’s illustrators and authors from over 50 countries in solidarity with the youth climate strikes. In May 2020 she shaved her head to raise money for Bat Conservation Trust.Emma’s favourite food is pizza. She is inspired by nature, animals, adventure, and seeing the magic in the everyday. She loves bats, cats and bears, walking in the wild and exploring the world.
Emma Shevah is half Thai and half Irish, and was born and raised in London. She holds a BA Honours in English and Philosophy from the University of Nottingham and an MA with Distinction in Creative and Professional Writing from Brunel. She is the author of Hello Baby Mo!, an early reader published by Bloomsbury, and four Middle Grade novels published by Chicken House: Dream on Amber (2014 – winner of the Odyssey Award), Dara Palmer’s Major Drama (2016 – optioned by CBBC), What Lexie Did (UK)/Lexie’s Little Lie (US) 2018 and How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg (2021). She has also published a number of features in newspapers and magazines, and is working on a non fiction book for adults based on a journey to Newfoundland to find her namesake. She currently lives in Brighton with 50% of her four children and is Head of Year 13 at Roedean.
Nicky has written four novels for adults, two books of non-fiction but most of her recent work is for young people. Her first children’s novel Feather Boy won the Blue Peter ‘Book of the Year’ Award, was adapted for TV (winning a BAFTA for Best Children’s Drama) and then commissioned by the National Theatre as a musical with lyrics by Don Black and music by Debbie Wiseman. Her new novel The Survival Game is a migration road-movie about a girl with a bullet-less gun and what she’s prepared to risk – or sacrifice – to stay alive in a climate ravaged world. If you want to join the conversation about how to keep our planet beautiful and our future bright, check the #ChooseLovetoSurvive campaign.
Lauren St John
Lauren St John grew up surrounded by horses, dogs, cats, a warthog and a pet giraffe on a farm and game reserve in Zimbabwe, the inspiration for her bestselling White Giraffe, Laura Marlin and One Dollar Horse series. Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice, her third Wolfe & Lamb mystery, will be out in January 2021. Lauren is an Ambassador for Born Free, a Patron of Mane Chance Animal Sanctuary and the founder of Authors4Oceans, a coalition of children’s authors campaigning against plastic pollution and dolphins in captivity.
Chitra Soundar is an internationally published author of over 50 books for children. She is also an oral storyteller and writer of many things. Chitra writes picture books and fiction for young readers. Her stories are inspired by folktales from India, Hindu mythology and her travels around the world. Her books have been published in the UK, US, India & Singapore and translated into Chinese, German, French, Japanese and Thai.
Anthea Simmons lives in Devon with her polydactyl cat, Caramac. After a successful career in the City and a spell of teaching, she finally knuckled down to write at the insistence of her son, Henry. She is the author of Share, The Best Best Baby, I’m Big Now, Lightning Mary and Burning Sunlight. She is editor in chief for online citizen journalism paper, West Country Bylines, and campaigns on a range of issues including electoral reform and rejoining the EU.
Mimi Thebo is a Carnegie-longlisted author for children and teens. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, adapted for a BAFTA-winning BBC film, illustrated in light and signed for deaf children by ITV. Born in the USA, she is based in South West England, where she is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol and a Royal Literary Fellow. She writes about recovery from trauma and our connection to the endangered natural world.
‘…movingly explores the interconnectedness of our minds, bodies, spirituality and physical environment…’ BookTrust
Isabel is the author of more than 150 books about science, nature and the environment for young audiences. She was awarded the 2020 AAAS Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books, and has previously been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. Isabel also writes for children’s science magazines and works with organisations such as Wellcome Trust and University of Oxford to create outreach resources, inspiring children from diverse backgrounds to pursue STEM careers. Isabel holds an MA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, and an MPhil in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge, UK, with her husband and three young sons.
Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. The sequel, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Other books include The Wild Beyond and The Death of an Owl (with Paul Torday.) His adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights opened at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2017. He lives in London with his husband and a very naughty dog.
David is an award-winning writer of scripts, novels and non-fiction. A Marvel comics writer, the Doc Chaos tv and comic series was followed by his prize-winning SF novel Hybrids (HarperCollins) was called “stunningly clever” by The Times. He co-founded the London Screenwriters Workshop and has taught 1000s of hours of script and creative writing, and published a book on the subject. Stormteller led to his presence on the first two Hay Literature Festival climate fiction panels. He’s worked on a number of short films and written over a dozen books and 1000s of journalistic articles on environmental sustainability and renewable energy.
Venetia Welby is a writer and journalist who has lived and worked on four continents. Her debut novel Mother of Darkness was published by Quartet in 2017 and her essays and short fiction have appeared in The London Magazine, Review 31 and anthologies Garden Among Fires and Trauma, among others. She lives in London with her husband, son and Bengal cat.
Read our interview with Laura
Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing and the author of the ‘Poppy Pym’ and ‘Vote for Effie’ middle-grade series and YA novels, A Sky Painted Gold and Under a Dancing Star.
She loves Georgette Heyer novels, Fred Astaire films, travelling to far flung places, recipe books, Jilly Cooper, poetry, cosy woollen jumpers, Edith Nesbit, crisp autumn leaves, Jack Gilbert, new stationery, sensation fiction, salted caramel, feminism, Rufus Sewell’s cheek-bones, dogs, and drinking lashings of ginger beer.
Marian Womack is bilingual writer, born by the Atlantic Ocean in a small Andalusian town, and educated in the UK. Her writing is concerned with nature and it features strange landscapes, ghostly encounters, and uncanny transformations through a variety of genres – experimental and hybrid fiction, speculative fiction, gothic and ghostly fiction, and fiction of the Anthropocene. Her debut short story collection, Lost Objects (Luna Press, 2018), was shortlisted for two BSFA awards and one BSF award. Marian’s new novel, The Swimmers (Titan Books, 2021) is a near-future fable set in a luscious gothic Andalusia after an environmental catastrophe. She have also published one gothic/environmental fiction mystery, The Golden Key (Titan Books, 2020). Marian is the first Spanish graduate of the San Diego Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and she has recently graduated from her PhD in Creative Writing, focusing on the ways weird and gothic fiction portray environmental anxieties. She teaches on the Oxford University writing postgraduate programme, and she is an enthusiastic collage and pamphlet maker, and wild swimmer.