YA Book Prize shortlisting, a creative writing activity & book recs

I’m very excited that The Quiet at the End of the World has been shortlisted for the YA book prize!

YABPshortlist1200 px

The list is so great this year, so I’m very flattered to be in such lovely company!

My free online novel, An Unauthorised Fan Treatise, is up to chapter 28 of 30, so it’s nearly finished. Here’s some reviews so far:

“Brilliant. Innovative, engaging and insightful. I hope it gets the huge audience it deserves.” – Sara Barnard

“absolutely addictive, creepy and exciting. at times i got so lost in the story i forgot that the characters aren’t real. would highly recommend this to anyone who loves reading fandom essays/treatises!” – Julie on Goodreads

“Lauren is a genius and this was the messy fandom hijinks love letter I never knew I needed.” – Charlie on Goodreads

“I loved it. It’s full of the things that make me love anything Lauren James writes: intrigue right from the start, sketchy characters, and plot twists galore. Throw in an unreliable narrator and a few conspiracy theories and you’ve got something that is impossible to not come back to week after week to see what happens next in the Gottie Writes saga. It’s an exploration of toxic fan culture, the power of the web (and you shouldn’t believe everything you read) — oh, and there’s a murder mystery, too. How can you not be intrigued?!” – Charlotte on Goodreads

ch 28

I’m currently taking bookings for July and July for editorial critiques. If you’re working on a writing project during lockdown, you can get notes on the first draft or an extract. I’ve edited manuscripts for over fifty writers of Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction. https://laurenejames.co.uk/editorial-services/

I posted a free creative writing exercise for students who are stuck inside right now:

And for the rest of you, a fun game:


Some recent excellent reads – three novels and three novellas for everyone who (like me) is lacking attention span right now.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power – Wonderful creeping horror that gets worse and worse as the book goes on, with some really gruesome scenes. Richly drawn characters on a mutated island.

A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland – A depressed travelling storyteller ends up in a fantasy version of Amsterdam, where he single-handedly encourages a tulip mania to start. But when the flower bulbs get diseased, things start to go badly wrong.

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey* –  I read this in one day, totally immersed in the lives of these women. The mansion is so clearly drawn, with all these stuffed animals in each room. Haunting, romantic and intriguing.

And the novellas:

The Harwood Spellbook novella series by Stephanie Burgis* – This magical world is so carefully thought out, with a really interesting take on gender roles in society. I’m a sucker for historical recency magic books, and I’ve read most of the ones I have found – this is a highlight for me as one of the nicest.

Wayward Children novella series by Seanan McGuire* –  Diverse and witty, with unique and memorable characters. Each novella is wonderfully different, and they all feel like fun little excursions into this endless magical world.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho* – A fun novella about a group of bandits whose harmony is uprooted by the arrival of a new member, a chaotic and argumentative nun of the Order of the Pure Moon. She pesters the bandits and disturbs their carefully planned heists, and has a lot of fun along the way. Zen’s writing is so full of life and humour, and the romance here creeps up on you quietly, then hits you hard. Tet Sang is a wonderfully dry and interesting protagonist. I want a sequel!

*gifted by the publisher

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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