The Most Wonderful Announcement!

As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to be offered a book deal while I was still at University. While this was amazing, it did leave me with a big question: what was I going to do when I graduated? My original plan, back when writing was still a hobby instead of something Real, was to jump straight into a job. But now I had a whole new option: to be a full time author! This was something I’d wanted to do since I was a child, so I really wanted to give myself the best chance to be successful as an author, while I had the wonderful opportunity available.

Instead of choosing between the two, I decided to take a kind of gap year, where I’d write as much as possible for a year. I told myself that I’d have to get a real job by the end of that year. I gave myself some time to be a full time author, and then I’d have to get a ‘proper job’ as well as writing.

I’m coming up to the end of that gap year now, and it’s been amazing. I’ve loved writing full time. In the last nine months, as well as working on The Next Together, I’ve written one (and a half!) new novels. And now I have some brilliant news.

Amazingly, incredibly, wonderfully . . . Arts Council England, supported using public funding by the National Lottery, have awarded me an Arts Grant, to give me ‘time to write’!

They help artists and arts organisations in England to create work which will engage the public artistically. This means that the Arts Council haven been generous enough to give me the chance to write 3 whole new Young Adult novels!

I can’t even explain how much this means. I’m so grateful for the confidence they’ve shown in my writing, and in me personally. It’s such an honour to be part of their mission to create high quality, enriching art. I will try my best to live up to it.

As I’ve previously discussed on this blog, I take my role as a writer for teenagers and young adults very seriously. I try to do things with my writing beyond telling a story. The right book can shape a childhood, so I try to make sure I live up to that responsibility. To know that the Arts Council have put their trust me to do that as well is a huge, huge honour.

As for what I’ll be writing . . . I’m already hard at work on the first of the three novels, the sequel to my first novel The Next Together. The Last Beginning will feature an LGBT protagonist (and lots of time travel, history, adventure and romance). I’ve also planned out the other two novels I’m going to be writing, and I hope you’ll be as excited about them as I am!

Thank you to Zoë Marriott and Ross Montgomery, who both advised me on the application process (it’s, er, pretty lengthy!) and to my agent Claire Wilson and my editor Annalie Grainger for their guidance and support, always.

Finally: I get to use this logo now. It gives me shivers just looking at it!


Update: The lovely Nicole at YA Interrobang interviewed me about my grant here.

My first novel, The Next Together, will be published in September by Walker Books. You can preorder it, add it on Goodreads, or read the first chapter

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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