English - Balancing act

The life of the author-lecturer is complicated but rewarding

Julia Green

Inside my head are:

- Night-time, summer, a Hebridean island. A missing 17-year-old boy and a girl of 15 looking for him ...

- MA interviews.

I am lucky to have two jobs I love - author and MA course leader - but the balancing act is not always straightforward. This week I am desperate to immerse myself in the world of the novel I am writing, but two new books have just been published and I have school and library visits to do.

Bringing the Summer is my second novel about Freya, who is recovering from the tragic loss of her brother Joe in a boating accident. She is 16, on the cusp of adulthood, falling in love, taking big decisions about the kind of person she is and the life she wants. It is a privilege to be able to talk to teenage girls about real-life issues, to help them navigate the minefield of adolescent emotion and to hear their stories, too.

When I talk about my writing process - the journey from experience and imagination via messy notebook jottings to a many-times-revised manuscript - it is a thrill to see them making their own connections, developing stories they hardly knew were in their imaginations. It makes writing accessible.

Many of my MA students have been successful and we are all playing a part in a bigger story: helping young people to discover the joy of reading. I am doing what I always dreamed of: writing novels. My academic job makes that possible.

Author Julia Green is course director of the writing for young people MA at Bath Spa University. www.julia-green.co.uk.


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Julia Green

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