Jemma Stewart

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Course studied: MA Creative Writing
Graduating year: 2020


Jemma grew up in Somerset and studied for her BA in Southeast Asian Studies at SOAS in London. When she moved to Bristol, she took up a string of menial customer service jobs and wrote stories on the sly. Themes of friendship and loneliness recur in her work and are explored through dark humour and a decidedly female perspective. One of her short stories has been published in Bandit Fiction and the opening of her novel was shortlisted for the Grindstone Literary 2019 International Novel Prize.


Barely Functioning follows Harper, a university drop-out in her mid-twenties, who is living with her parents and struggling with that eternal question: what the hell am I going to do with my life? When her parents announce they’re moving to Nepal she has to figure out the answer sooner than planned. Her solution is to move to Bristol with her best friend, Willow, where they while away time drinking wine, crashing house parties and recapturing the carelessness of their teenage years. But when Willow betrays the sisterhood by getting a boyfriend, everything starts to fall apart and Harper has to figure out how to function on her own.

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