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Anna Kemp

Class of 1997, Author and University Lecturer

I spent the first 15 years of my career in Higher Education. However, since 2010 I have been writing and publishing children's books and in 2019 I decided to leave my permanent position as an academic and to make a living as a freelance writer and occasional lecturer.

I now live in Oxford where I earn my living (just!) as a writer. I write both picture books and middle-grade fiction (8-12 year olds) and, like many authors, I supplement income from the sales of my books with school and library visits, book-signings, festivals and other events. But I love teaching and did not want to abandon my academic life altogether, so I also teach lecture courses for summer programmes at the University of Oxford. Next year, I plan to bring my love of teaching and creative writing together by devising and delivering my own courses in writing for children.

Like many students at Freemen’s, I was a chronic high-achiever and, consequently, something of a praise-junkie. Obviously there is a real joy to be found in being good at things, but try not to let the gold stars blind you to what you really, really enjoy in its own right. I am probably a more talented academic than I am a children's writer, but I'm a good enough writer to make a living and, frankly, I'd rather be making up stories about dragons than sitting in a three hour exams meeting. Nuff said.