Louisa Young

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recorded October 2013

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Louisa Young is a British novelist,[1] short-story writer, biographer and journalist. As of 2013, she has published four novels under her own name and five under the nom de plume Zizou Corder, with her daughter Isabel Adomakoh Young.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Louisa was born in London, England. Her father was the politician and writer Wayland Young, Lord Kennet. Her mother is Elizabeth Young, Lady Kennet. She has several siblings, including the sculptor Emily Young.


She was educated at Hallfield Primary School, Paddington; St Paul's Girls' School; Westminster School; and Trinity College Cambridge.[2][5]


She worked as a subeditor and freelance journalist on several publications including the Guardian (for which she wrote columns for many years), the Sunday Times, the Daily Express, Marie Claire (where she was lead feature writer and for a while Features Editor, under Glenda Bailey), Tatler, Bike Magazine, and Motorcycle International. She also worked at various stages as a despatch rider, a busker (double bass and vocals), a waitress, a kitchen-hand and a shop assistant.[5] Her first book, A Great Task of Happiness, a biography of her grandmother Kathleen Scott, widow of Captain Scott of the Antarctic, was published by MacMillan in 1995, and reissued as a POD on Lulu in 2012.[6] It was followed by three novels set in London and Egypt: Baby Love, Desiring Cairo, and Tree of Pearls (Flamingo). Baby Love was listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction.[2] They were followed in 2002 by The Book of the Heart (Flamingo), a cultural history symbolism involving the heart, covering its historical role in art, religion, love and anatomy, and inspired by her father's heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub. In 2007, she was a curatorial advisor for the Wellcome Foundation's exhibition The Heart, which was inspired by her book.[7]

She co-authored with her daughter five books for children: Lionboy,[3] Lionboy: The Chase,[1] Lionboy: The Truth,[1] Lee Raven, Boy Thief, and Halo. The Lionboy trilogy was sold in 36 languages. Halo was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize in 2010, and nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2011.[8][9] The film rights have been sold three times, including to Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks.[1] No film has yet been made, but a stage production by Theatre de Complicite is scheduled for May 2013 at the Bristol Old Vic, directed by Annabel Arden, adapted by Marcelo dos Santos with Annabel Arden, Louisa Young and the company, and starring Adetomiwa Edun.[10]

In 2011, she published My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (HarperCollins), a First World War novel which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and the WellcomePrize, and won the Galaxy Audiobook of the Year Award 2012, read by actor Dan Stevens and with music by Robert Lockhart. It was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club in 2012; nominated for the Impac Award 2013, and was BBC Radio Four's Book at Bedtime in January 2012, read by Olivia Coleman. It has been sold in 15 languages.[11]

From 2009–11, she was writer in residence at Holland Park School, and from 2010–11 at Queens Park Comprehensive, with the creative writing charity First Story.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Her daughter and co-author Isabel Adomakoh Young was born in 1993. Her fiance, the composer Robert Lockhart, died in 2012.[13]



  • The Egyptian Trilogy
    • Baby Love (Flamingo 2004)
    • Desiring Cairo (Flamingo 2005)
    • Tree of Pearls (Flamingo 2006)
  • My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You (HarperCollins March 2011; Paperback: January 2012; US 2011)

Non fiction

  • The Book of the Heart (Flamingo 2002)
  • A Great Task of Happiness: The Life of Kathleen Scott (MacMillan 1995; reissued by Lulu 2012)


  • Ruby Baby Radio drama, BBC Radio 7, 2010
  • She wiped the surface and put the kettle on BBC Radio 4, read by Emma Fielding, 2012

As co-writer Zizou Corder:

  • Lionboy (Puffin, 2003)
  • Lionboy: The Chase (Puffin, 2004)
  • Lionboy: The Truth (Puffin, 2006)
  • Lee Raven, Boy Thief (Puffin 2008)
  • Halo (Puffin 2010)
  • The Intrepid Dumpling's Dugong Story, in The Just When Stories (Beautiful Books 2010)


  1. ^ a b c d Beckett, Sandra L. (2008). Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives. Routledge. ISBN 0415879361. 
  2. ^ a b c Peto, James (2007). The Heart. Other Distribution. p. 244. ISBN 0300125100. 
  3. ^ a b Falconer, Rachel (2008). The Crossover Novel: Contemporary Children's Fiction and Its Adult Readership. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 0415978882. 
  4. ^ Perrin, Raymond (2007). Littérature de jeunesse et presse des jeunes au début du XXIe siècle : Esquisse d'un état des lieux, enjeux et perspectives (in French). L'Harmattan. p. 302. ISBN 2296040675. 
  5. ^ a b "Louisa Young". Louisa Young. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  6. ^ A Great Task of Happiness The Life of Kathleen Scott: Amazon.co.uk: Louisa Young: Books. Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 1470986892. 
  7. ^ "Credits". Wellcome Collection. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Zizou Corder – Puffin Books Authors – Puffin Books". Puffin.co.uk. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Louisa Young". Louisa Young. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Vonledebur, Catherine (15 March 2013). "Varied line-up of summer fun at Warwick Arts Centre". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Authors : Louisa Young". Harpercollins.co.uk. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Where we work". First Story. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Will Self. "Robert Lockhart obituary | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 

External links[edit]