Nizrana Farook

Your judge is the super talented new writer Nizrana Farook, whose first book has been a huge success. Nizrana is the author of ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant.’

You can follow her on Twitter @NizRite

Nizrana was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the beautiful landscapes of her home country find their way into the stories she writes. Her debut novel, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month in January and shortlisted for the inaugural Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize. Nizrana likes writing tropical adventure stories, and her soon to be revealed second title will be out in January 2021. She has a master’s degree in writing for young people, and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters.
Richly atmospheric, full of colour and passion, Farook is a writer to watch.” – Sally Morris, The Daily Mail

Nizrana’s top three tips on getting started:


1.    Choose your main character.

Make sure you have a character to root your piece of writing in. In a story this would be your main character, and we’d see the story through their eyes. If you’re writing a piece of non-fiction, depending on what you’re writing it would still be useful to do this. If you’re writing about your experience in lockdown for example, it would be nice to have a sense of who you are, and hear your unique voice. If there’s a word or phrase you like to use all the time I would love to see it in your writing. 


2.    Forget about spelling and grammar.

The most important thing is to get your writing down on the page. So please write without worrying about SPAG! Once you have something down you can work with it and correct mistakes. You could get someone to help you with grammar or look up spellings, but only you can write the story within you.


3.    Make a start without thinking too much.


This is my favourite tip and one that’s been most useful to me. You might have something you want to write about and are raring to go – in which case, well done and you don’t need this tip! But if you’re not sure what to write, look around you at books or TV or films you enjoy and pick a sentence you like. Or choose something completely random from your own imagination. Write it down. Now think about what could happen next. Remember, the story and characters should be yours wherever the sentence came from. When you’re thinking of what should happen next make it as exciting as possible. Give the character a problem to overcome. Before you know it you’ll have a story idea. This is how I started my book The Girl Who Stole an Elephant!