I have a brain. I find it useful. After living in Los Angeles for the best part of a year I was worried that brain might have atrophied and be about to seep out of my left ear. So I decided to crank it back up and do a Master’s Degree. I chose Children’s Literature because that was where my love of stories and writing was born. I studied, at distance, and gained my MA through Roehampton University, which houses the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature. My area of particular interest is mental illness in children’s literature and I wrote my dissertation on ‘Representations of Female Mental Illness in contemporary Children’s Literature’. My MA was handed to me by Jacqueline Wilson. She is really small.

After a bit of a breather I turned one of the chapters from my MA dissertation into an academic article. It was published! ‘The Picture of Madness: Visual Narratives of female Mental Illness in Contemporary Children’s Literature’ was published in July 2016 in the academic journal Children’s Literature in Education (Springer).

I then presented my article ‘Sssshhhhh! The Explosion of the Audiobook in the Digital Age’ at the 2016 International Summit of the Book (run by the Library of Congress), discussing the boom of the modern audiobook, whether the economic means of production affects the quality of the product and, indeed, whether or not that matters.

Afterwards, I considered moving on to a PhD but then realised I was wearing my pants inside out and therefore probably didn’t have enough time to squeeze it in if I can’t even dress myself properly.

How mental illness is portrayed to children is of the utmost import to me and this remains my field of interest in academia (do you see how I just sounded all academic by using words like ‘field’ and ‘utmost’ and ‘and’).

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