Susanna Bailey: I grew up in a Northern town, close to purple moorland and long, silvery beaches. Books were my earliest friends. I often made up stories and brought them to life, with paper people on cardboard theatre stages.
Through my previous career in social work, I shared in the real-life stories of many amazing young people. I had wonderful adventures with my own five children and our various animals: including a stick-insect called Dennis! Some adventures were ‘real’, others were journeys into imaginary realms…
I discovered how helpful stories – and animals – can be when children (and adults) are confused, sad, or afraid. I learned something of the healing power of nature; of wild, quiet, green spaces. Nine years ago, I decided to see if I could write about these things and went ‘back to school’ to study Creative Writing.
In 2017, I graduated from Bath Spa University’s fabulous MA in Writing for Young People. I now write contemporary middle-grade fiction, with a focus on children’s emotions. I try to offer honesty, warmth, and hope.
My MA Novel, Snow Foal, 2019, was shortlisted for the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize, longlisted for the Blue Peter Award 2020, and is nominated for Lancashire Libraries’ ‘Fantastic Fiction’ Award, 2020/21. It explores the experiences of Looked-After and adopted children, touching on parental alcoholism and issues of child-neglect. The story is set on Exmoor.
My second novel, Otters’ Moon, looks at family fracture, blended families, and living with parental mental illness (depression and dementia). Centre-stage are a strange Scottish island and, of course, very special otter!
Alongside my work as author, I now teach Creative Writing at the university where it all began for me…
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