Louisa Reid


Prepare to be amazed by the powerful writing of your judge, Louisa Reid. You can see her books here

Louisa Reid has spent most of her life reading. And when she’s not doing that she’s writing stories, or imagining writing them at least. An English teacher, her favourite part of the job is sharing her love of reading and writing with her pupils. Louisa lives with her family in the north-west of England and is proud to call a place near Manchester home. You can follow her on twitter @louisareid.

Her latest book is the verse novel ‘Gloves Off’. A page-turning and immersive YA novel in verse, telling the story of Lily who is mercilessly bullied at school and who turns to boxing in an attempt to fight back; a story of hope and resilience breaking through even the most difficult situations.

‘However hard she tries to fit in, Lily is constantly bullied and even beaten up because of her weight. But when her dad hangs up a punch bag for her, she begins, gradually, to discover her own strength, until eventually she stops trying to hide, and starts trying to win. Gloves Off is an intense, original and profoundly moving verse novel, filled with the fierce, hard joy of finding your power.’ – Guardian

Louisa’s top writing tips are:

  1. Turn off the internet (I know – horrifying). But seriously, it’s so easy to get distracted by social media, internet shopping, falling down wormholes into a completely other space/time reality …I’m guilty of it myself. So try to find the space to write –  not just physical space, emotional and creative space. I’ve taken to retreating to my cellar where the wi-fi is patchy and people are unlikely to disturb me…it’s great.
  2. Write what you know…and what you don’t know. Fiction should be a place to which we bring ourselves and all we know, think and feel –  totally committing that to the page. But it should also be a place of wonder for both reader and writer. I don’t want to read about people who are exactly like me, and I don’t want to write about those people either. Let your imagination fly –  but do your research, too.
  3. Trust yourself. It’s fine to fill a blank page with nonsense if it gets you going. Sometimes a blank page can feel intimidating and a challenge, so why not just free write until you hit upon a theme, a character, a place, an  idea that really sings? It’s fine to use prompts too –  the internet (you’ll need to turn it back on) is full of them.
  4. Tell it slant. This is a phrase from a wonderful poem by Emily Dickinson –  and I think it means that we should always try to find an interesting angle, to present our ideas from a new perspective. Think carefully about making your work as fresh as can be, and maybe approaching your idea in a surprising way.