Panel for the YA Book Prize with Malorie Blackman, Juno Dawson, Jenny Downham and Booksandquills

Thanks to Sanne for the wonderful chairing! It’s hard to do panels in the age of social distancing, but I love that we can reach a wider audience, with no geographic limits. This was a lot of fun (and I’m definitely fangirling over doing an event with MALORIE BLACKMAN!)

The winner of the YA Book Prize is announced on Thursday, and I’m so excited to see which of my amazing cohort has won!

I’ve also done a podcast about The Quiet at the End of the World and An Unauthorised Fan Treatise here.

If you’ve finished An Unauthorised Fan Treatise, THANK YOU! Your lovely reviews make me so happy!

Absolutely phenomenal. As a longtime fan, every chapter hit me like a gut-punch. The references to real-life fandom drama, the lingo, the way she could change her tone and cadence while writing not just as Gottie but as so many different commenters–just incredible. Ridiculous skillful writing and I’ll definitely be checking out more works by her. – Caroline on Goodreads

“An Unauthorised Fan Treatise is one of the most compelling serialised forms of media I’ve experienced in a good while, blending thriller, mystery and some slick plot twists into a deftly genre-defying homage to the toxicity of fandom. Chock full of footnotes, hyperlinks, screencaps, court transcripts, and even fake social media accounts, Lauren James has taken an insider’s experience of fandom and translated it into an unmistakable, even unforgettable experience.” – Tasha on Goodreads

I’ve done a long spoilery chat about the project:

And I’m sharing weekly snippets from The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. Here’s the latest. (Preorder link here)

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Recent reads!

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold – I’ve been diving deep into escapist genre fiction during lockdown, and this – number 15 in the space opera series the Vorkosigan Saga – was an excellent example of the form. A bit silly, with a comedy of errors, fake dating, embarrassing family members, a heist, underground tunnels, and fun space tech. I love these sprawling books about the ridiculous Vorkosigan family!

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang – The second short story collection from the writer of Arrival (2016), these are thoughtful science-based stories about big concepts – the tendency of the universe towards entropy, the obsolescence breakdown of technology, the search for God in fossil records – that Chiang has humanised and explained through narratives. Characterisation isn’t always his strong point, but the science is fascinating enough that I would happily read his stories forever. It inspires my own writing hugely.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Wonderful. Lost memories and closed environments and unreliable narrators and untrustworthy companions. I won’t say any more than that, as I know this is greatly anticipated – and isn’t out for a while yet.

Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles – A 1920s romance about an ex-soldier who inherits a bookshop and, along with it, a hidden secret code that the War Office and many gangsters are very keen to get their hands on. KJ Charles is on top form here.

And two rereads from my childhood:

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – This is one of my favourite films, and the book is just as good, building out the story in surprising and unexpected ways. It cemented all of my reading tastes into place at a formative age: magical houses, dilapidated grandeur, found families, lush food, furious and feral ladies, spoilt wizards, charismatic monsters & unreliable narration.

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley – A retelling of Sleeping Beauty that I’ve read approximately 50 times since I was a kid. So feminist and witchy and unexpected. As an adult and writer, I now have some qualms with the pacing/narrative style, but the characters are so important to me that I can forgive all.

Hope you’re all staying safe!

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. 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. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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