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St Mary’s Graduate Sells Debut Novel

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St Mary’s University Creative Writing alumna Louise Fein has sold her debut novel to publishers in the UK and USA as part of a two-book deal, and also in countries including Netherlands and Italy.

Louise began and developed the novel, called People Like Us, on the MA Creative Writing: First Novel at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, which uniquely supports students in producing their first novel manuscript.

People Like Us is a forbidden love story set in 1930s Leipzig, Germany. It tells the story of Hetty, a young girl growing up under Nazi rule. With an SS officer father, a brother in the Luftwaffe and a member of the BDM (League of German Girls) Hetty is the epitome of a perfect German child. But everything changes when she meets Walter, her brother’s childhood best friend: blonde-haired, blue-eyed, perfect for her in every way except for his Jewish heritage. As she falls more and more in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, Hetty begins to question everything.

The book will be published in the UK in hardback, e-book and audiobook in January 2020 and then in paperback in September of the same year. 

St Mary’s Creative and Professional Writing Lecturer Dr Russell Schechter said, “Louise came to St Mary’s with this very serious and deeply personal idea for a book. Through pure talent and a lot of hard work, the novel that emerged will now be published for an international readership. Louise is a wonderful person and it is a delight to see her reaping the rewards of her dedication.”

Of the degree programme, Louise said, “Studying for the Master’s degree at St Mary’s was absolutely key in my journey to completing my first novel. Whilst there was still a good deal of work to be done in re-writing and editing afterwards, the course certainly took me a long way along the road to publication. I have also gained an excellent group of fellow writing friends to continue working with, long after the course has finished.”

Louise joins these other postgraduate St Mary's Creative Writing students who have gone on to publication Jess Kidd (Himself), Muhammad Khan (Kick the Moon), Lara Dearman (The Devil’s Claw) and Adam Sharp (‘Play’, in Common People, edited by Kit de Waal).

If you dream of writing your first novel, find out more about studying on the MA Creative Writing: First Novel here.

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