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Lauren Wilson

Career Path: Author
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

 I’d always been a book lover, and I knew that I wanted to be an author - but I wasn’t 100% sure on how to make that possible. However, I loved newspapers an magazines so pursuing Journalism seemed like a great option. After graduating from my BA (Hons) in Journalism, I freelanced as a reporter in commercial radio and covered some incredible and difficult stories.

However, after a couple of years I realised that I wanted to take my dream of becoming an author more seriously - and so applied to study an MA in Creative Writing, also at Northumbria. I studied this MA part time around my freelancing. In 2020, courtesy of Covid-19, I left freelancing, and held a couple of different jobs during this time - including a role as a content writer. In late 2022, I joined Mslexia, a women’s writing magazine, as Maternity Cover. It was while I was at Mslexia that I finally completed the novel that I’d always wanted to write.

What are you doing now?

My first novel was acquired by major publishers (HarperCollins Children’s Books in the UK, Flatiron Books in the US and Fischer Kinder-und Jugendbuch Verlaf in Germany) and will be published in summer 2025. I'm currently working on this novel with my editors ahead of publication.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

Northumbria was immediately welcoming as a campus, and its journalism course was heavily practical as opposed to being focused on theory - which I knew was important. I was engaged from the very first opening day I came to, where the brilliant Mark Davenport (who became one of my lecturers!) delivered a fantastic discussion on fake news. I’d been to other open days, but after that there was no contest. I think I made the decision before we'd even left the room. I had such a brilliant experience at Northumbria for my BA that I didn't hesitate to apply again for my MA.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Studying at Northumbria was amazing. We had a brilliant mix of really interesting and engaging lectures and seminars, and practical work, too. In Third Year, we were assessed through 'news days' - practical days where we used the campus facilities to actually run a 'real' newsroom all day. We did this for both radio and television, using the department's own radio and television studios as well as cameras, editing software and recording equipment, and we took on different roles. I was News Editor for one of the radio news days, and I've never forgotten that adrenaline! MA: In my MA, we had a brilliant mix of lectures and seminars. Due to Covid-19, some of these were online - but they were handled brilliantly by the staff. The workshops and feedback especially, from real industry professionals, was invaluable.

How connected was your course with industry? 

Super connected! We had very interesting guest lectures - I remember one with a journalist who'd covered conflicts in the Middle East for our Reporting on Conflict module (may not be the correct name), which was fascinating. Our lecturers were real journalists with years of experience, and so they had really useful connections, too. Through our lecturers, I did two work placements at ITV Tyne Tees, and a paid overnight shift covering the 2017 General Election. Through a university-organised visit, I secured two week-long work experience placements with Global North East, which led to long-term work placement (one day per week) and then paid freelancing for 2+ years. MA: Also very well connected! We had interesting guest lectures from industry professionals, e.g. agents.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

The work experience placements that I had, both with ITV and with Global, were invaluable - and both led to paid work.

What was the best thing about your course?

I absolutely loved the practical elements like the 'news days'. Working with your course mates to report on and broadcast actual news is a) super fun and b) brilliant experience before you even set foot in an actual newsroom! MA: Getting to meet other writers who were just as engaged and passionate as you, from your peers to your tutors!

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Without studying at Northumbria, I don't think I would've had as solid a foundation when it came to the practical elements of journalism - we learned everything from filming to editing to recording audio to having actual voice coaching sessions. Plus, the connections my lecturers had meant I gained work experience, which led to paid work on both occasions and, later, 2+ years of freelancing in radio. Having experience of using software such as InDesign was also invaluable for my CV when I applied for jobs at a digital agency and a magazine. Studying the Masters gave me confidence in my work, and helped me make connections with other writers - giving me a support network which, as an author, is essential.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

As a journalist, Adobe skills and interview skills were the most valuable. As an author, research skills and knowing how I work best to hit deadlines have been essential.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Learning about a subject I loved, and being fully engaged in learning - for both degrees.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

The city is wonderful and welcoming, the facilities are brilliant (I adored the library), the staff are fantastic and incredibly experienced in industry - I couldn't recommend it more.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Engaging, inspirational and life-changing.

For more information about me visit:

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