Meeting writers on the page since 1996


Jessica Irena Smith

“What struck me most about the picture, though, was how happy they looked. Mom especially. I’d never seen her like this before, I realised – so carefree. It made me ache. She wasn’t someone who was prone to smiling, not naturally. Yes, she’d smile when she met people, just as she would when she was trying to get her own way, batting her eyelashes, tilting her head at just the right angle. That was how she’d attracted Bob. That and her looks, I was certain of it. But spontaneous, genuine smiling? No, not my mom.”

From ‘The Summer She Vanished’– included in the showcase

“After receiving a TLC ‘Free Read’ for my children’s manuscript in 2017, awarded by New Writing North, in 2018 I was invited to submit for the TLC/AM Heath Free Reads: an Anthology, for which I was lucky enough to have an extract from The Summer She Vanished (formerly Minna Lies) selected; and at the start of 2020, The Summer She Vanished was also long-listed for Mslexia’s Novel Competition. After that, in the summer of the same year, I found representation with Marina de Pass at The Soho Agency, and signed a two-book deal with Headline in 2022.” From the Introduction