|Author and MMU Graduate Liz Kessler|
“One of my aims as Director of the Writing School at MMU is that we create and maintain a real sense of family, achievement, nurturing and celebration – it’s important to all of us in the School that we keep in touch with our students and that we welcome them back and join them in celebrating their successes.”
Liz wrote Read Me Like A Book almost fifteen years ago as part of her MA in Creative Writing at MMU. The novel tells the story of 17 year-old Ashleigh, who is coming to terms with her sexuality after she develops feelings for a female teacher. When Liz originally sent the novel out to publishers, however, it was rejected by all of them. Fifteen years later, the novel has now been published by festival partners, Indigo.
Liz, who in 2013 married her long-term partner, Laura, talked about why she decided to revisit the novel after all these years. She said, “Getting married made me feel much more confident about being ‘out’ in the world.” She admitted that, had the novel been published when she originally sent it out, it may have been difficult to cope with the attention it would have drawn to her private life.
She said, “I remember that there was a bit of me that felt like it was a relief that it was rejected as things were beginning to happen in my career and I didn’t want to have to expose myself.”
Liz went on to say that she has experienced a “massive outpouring of support” since the novel’s release, as well as lots of positive comments on social media. She then delighted the audience by reading an extract from the novel.
MMU’s Dr Andrew Moor, who interviewed Liz at the event, said, “I read the book last week and I was moved to tears. I am hoping that some of the children who have read Liz’s books when they were younger get as much enjoyment from this fantastic Young Adult book.”
For more about Liz Kessler, visit her website.