Beginner’s Pluck: Julia Forster

A prolific reader, Julia didn’t start to read like a writer until she was 15, and read Jane Eyre. She took an MA in creative writing, but concentrated on poetry. It wasn’t until the end of the course that she had an idea for a novel.

Beginner’s Pluck: Julia Forster

It was set in New York and Venice, so, having worked to raise the money, she set off for America and Italy, where she fell in love, and ran out of money.

“But the novel didn’t work. It was my first taste of failure,” she says

Arriving home, she worked with Bassett Books in Bath, before moving to London to work for environmental charities. Then she temped for Penguin and Dorling Kindersley and worked in a literary agency for two-and-a-half years.

“I worked with a lot of wonderful Irish authors, including Catherine Dunne and Lia Mills.”

Moving to Bristol, she had two children, and now lives in Wales, where she worked for a magazine, before penning her novel.

Who is Julia Forster?

Date/place of birth: December 18, 1978/ Warwickshire.


Northampton High School; University of Warwick — Literary and Philosophy: St Andrew’s University: MA in creative writing.


Machynlleth, Wales.


Husband Tom, Matilda, eight, and Jonah, six.

The day job:

Full-time writer.


Drinking coffee; yoga; running; eating.

Favourite writers:

Iris Murdoch; Miriam Toews; Paul Auster.

Second Novel:

“I’m concentrating on smaller projects; I’ve just finished a radio drama.”

Top Tip: Don’t be scared to move into those areas of resistance where writing feels difficult, because they are likely to be the most creative.


Twitter: @WriterForster

The Debut

What a Way to Go; €18.09/Kindle, €9.15.

It’s 1988. Daughter of divorced parents, Harper Richardson, 12, negotiates life between time with her father in a mouldering cottage, and with her mother, who tries to keep things together as she dates various unsuitables.

“I wrote my autobiography, then, realising nobody would be interested, kept the theme of divorce, but put in fictitious characters and situations. Harper is the cool 12-year-old I would like to have been. She’s ballsy, outspoken, and funny.”

The verdict:

This novel has everything; a strong quirky voice, lyricism, humour, and a true understanding of the teenage mind.

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