17 October 2023
Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning Young Adult (YA) author. Her debut novel, Orangeboy, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Children and The Bookseller YA Book Prize. She has since published three more novels including Indigo Donut, which won the CrimeFest Best Crime Fiction for Young Adults Award in 2018, and Eight Pieces of Silva, which won the Jhalak Children and Young Adult Prize in 2021. Patrice was awarded an MBE for her services to literature in 2021.
On the 12th October Patrice visited Burgess Hill Girls to give a series of talks and writing workshops for students in Year 7 and Year 8, as well as an additional session for Year 6 students from local Primary School, Birchwood Grove. She shared her unique writing process but also imparted valuable advice on how to embrace curiosity and overcome societal stigmas. Patrice also introduced her most recent book, ‘Is That Your Mama?’, a picture book which offers a sophisticated message about growing up in a mixed-race household and the assumptions strangers make about you. With this book, Patrice revealed she wanted to give children agency, saying: “I wrote this for the little girl to know she doesn’t have to answer strangers’ nosy questions.”
Burgess Hill Girls Head of English, Sarah Kruschandl, was thrilled that Patrice was able to visit the school and provide such an inspirational day.
“Patrice candidly shared insights into her life, her sources of inspiration, and her journey to becoming a writer. She emphasised the transformative influence of books and how they mould one’s identity. For a young black girl growing up in the 1970s UK, the effect of not finding herself or her family reflected in the stories she read was profound. Furthermore, she delved into the book-writing process, unveiling the creative magic behind her works. Her words ignited the students’ own creativity, sowing the seeds of potential future stories.”