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Alyssa Hollingsworth

 Alumni profile 

Course studied: MA Writing for Young People
Graduating year: 2014

After completing the MA Writing for Young People course at Bath Spa University, Alyssa signed with a literary agent at Skylark Literary. In 2016, under the guidance or her agent, she took an assignment from the course and fleshed it out into a full middle grade novel. By the end of the year, it had sold at auction as part of a two-book deal.

The Eleventh Trade is out currently in the US and UK, and translation rights have been negotiated for five other countries to date. Alyssa's second book – another standalone middle grade – comes out Spring 2020 and is called The Invisible Boy.

Alyssa loves coaching other writers, and has also written a blog series about the Writing for Young people course.

Alyssa's other qualifications and achievements

  • BA Creative Writing (Berry College)
  • Winner of Prize in Ethics from the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity
  • Organizer for WriteOnCon

"It was so wonderful to hear from industry professionals who were interested in my work, and almost more exciting to connect them with my classmates."

Book jacket for Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth, published by Piccadilly Press

"The best thing about the course was the individual care the faculty poured into the students, which then encouraged the students to care for each other."

 

Why did you choose to study Writing for Young People at Bath Spa?

I chose to study at Bath Spa University partially because of the location (Bath is one of my favorite cities in the world), but mainly because of the programme's focus on creating a community of writers. I knew that I thrived in environments where I could give and receive a lot of feedback, and I wanted to develop my network of friends in the industry. I was not disappointed!

What were your highlights?

The community aspect was a big highlight for me. The friendships I made are still vital to my writing life four years later. But standing in a room full of agents and publishers the night of our anthology launch was definitely a major high. It was so wonderful to hear from industry professionals who were interested in my work, and almost more exciting to connect them with my classmates.

How did the course support your steps into industry?

The course helped me hone my writing craft – which definitely needed the help! – as well as prepared me for the publishing industry. I can't over-emphasise how helpful it was to take a Master's level course on publishing topics! And, of course, the course facilitated my introduction to my agent Amber Caravéo. She attended our anthology launch, and I doubt I ever would have connected with her outside of that. She has been an absolute champion and I could not want a better agent and friend.

"The best thing about the course..."

...Was the individual care the faculty poured into the students, which then encouraged the students to care for each other.

"I am most proud of..."

...Taking a course assignment to write a synopsis for a project far out of my comfort zone – a project which later became my debut!

"My advice for current students..."

...Is to seek connections with your classmates. Sometimes it can be hard when you're all introverted writers, but it really will make a difference in your work and your life. I treasure my memories of afternoons spent in coffee shops writing with my classmates.

"I recommend Bath Spa because..."

...It is a community that fosters, challenges, and grows writers into authors – and in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Image credits: book jacket for The Eleventh Trade published with kind permission of Piccadilly Press. © Piccadilly Press.

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