Course studied: MA Writing for Young People
Graduating year: 2015
At the time of graduating, Jess received representation from a literary agency for the manuscript she completed during the MA Writing for Young People. Six months later, she was delighted to sign her first book deal for two novels with Hachette Children's Group. Jess is currently working on her fourth novel for readers aged eight and up, which will be published in April 2020. She regularly visits schools and book festivals as a children's author and plans to continue writing books for young people.
- BA (Hons) Creative Writing, Bath Spa University
- MA Writing for Young People, Bath Spa University
- Running on the Roof of the World (2017)
- Chosen to be part of the BookTrust Library Pack
- Winner of the Warwickshire Junior Book Award
- Shortlisted for an Awesome Book Award 2019
- When the Mountains Roared (2018)
- Swimming Against the Storm (2019)
Jess has also been a speaker at various events including:
- Kendal Mountain Festival, UK. November 2018.
- Louisiana Book Festival, USA. November 2018.
- Neev Literature Festival, India. September 2018.
- American Booksellers Children's Institute, USA. July 2018.
- Cardiff Children's Literature Festival, UK. April 2018.
- Althorp Literature Festival, UK. October 2017.
- Bath Children's Literature Festival, UK. October 2017.
"I have always wanted to be a children's author but knew I needed structure, support and mentorship to help me write the best possible novel I could."
Why did you choose to study Writing for Young People at Bath Spa?
I have always wanted to be a children's author but knew I needed structure, support and mentorship to help me write the best possible novel I could. The course had a fantastic reputation, the tutors all had successful writing careers themselves or were industry professionals, and the campus looked like an inspiring place to learn and write, surrounded by beautiful trees and peacocks.
What were your highlights?
I have so many highlights from the MA! One of the things I really miss is the workshop groups. It was the perfect place for us to challenge and support each other and is where I feel I did most of my growing as a writer.
How did the course support your steps into industry?
Within the publishing module I learned how the publishing industry works and what it means to have a career as an author. At the end of the course we published our own anthology, showcasing extracts from our manuscripts. This was then sent to literary agents and editors and we were able to meet and network with them at the launch party. The course very much supported my steps into the industry because it was through this anthology that I received representation from my literary agent.
"At the time of graduating I received representation from a literary agency for the manuscript I completed during the MA. Six months later I was delighted to sign my first book deal for two novels..."
"The best thing about the course..."
...Is that as soon as you start you become part of a writing family that champions and supports each others' work, and continues even after the course finishes.
"I am most proud of..."
...Completing Running on the Roof of the World on the course, my debut novel.
"My advice for current students is..."
Allow yourself to experiment and play within your writing as much as you can. After the course finished it took me a few years to realise how important it is to set aside time to do this. And remember that much of writing is re-writing, editing and redrafting. Don't worry that an early draft isn't good.
"I recommend Bath Spa because..."
...It not only grows you as a writer, but provides the steps for you to become an author.