Patrice Lawrence

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Patrice Lawrence
Patrice Lawrence on the British Library.jpg
Lawrence in a 2022 discussion with the British Library
Brighton, Sussex, England
OccupationFiction writer and journalist
Notable workOrangeboy (2016); Eight Pieces of Silva (2020)
AwardsThe Bookseller YA Book Prize;
Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children;
Jhalak Prize (Children's & YA)

Patrice Lawrence MBE (born 1960s) is a British writer and journalist, who has published fiction both for adults and children. Her writing has won awards including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children and The Bookseller YA Book Prize. In 2021, she won the Jhalak Prize's inaugural children's and young adult category for her book Eight Pieces of Silva (2020).[2]


Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton, Sussex, England, and was brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family,[3] her mother having come to England from Trinidad to train as a psychiatric nurse.[4] Lawrence has an MA in Writing for Film and TV, and was mentored by the BBC as a prospective comedy writer.[5] Her first story to be published was "Duck, Duck, Goose", which was included in The Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology (Penguin Books, 2006). It was while attending an Arvon Foundation crime writing course led by Dreda Say Mitchell and Frances Fyfield that Lawrence had the idea for her debut young adults' novel, Orangeboy.

Published in 2016, Orangeboy won The Bookseller's YA Book Prize 2017,[6] the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children 2017,[7] and was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Children's Book Award.[8][9] It received a five-star rating from MuggleNet, with the reviewer stating: "I absolutely adored this moving story. It is full of tears and laughter, unfettered fears and furious joy, family and friendship. This important, gripping, heart-in-your-throat contemporary about a teen boy swept up in trouble is not to be missed. For fans of Malorie Blackman, Jacqueline Wilson, Alan Gibbons, Benjamin Zephaniah, and Melvin Burgess. If you like your stories real, heartfelt, and moving, Orangeboy is one for you."[10] Lawrence herself has been reported as saying of the novel that "though her primary aim had been to promote hope in her story of a teenager caught in gang violence, she wanted to reflect the real situation faced by many black teenagers in Britain".[11]

Her follow-up book, Indigo Donut (2017), was described by Alex O'Connell in The Times as "addictive", having "many of the themes of a Jacqueline Wilson novel: bullying, fostering, teenage relationships. Yet Lawrence’s tale is told with unfettered dialogue and broad-ranging cultural references for an older audience who don’t need to be spared the details."[12] The Guardian reviewer wrote: "Her award-winning debut Orangeboy, a gripping urban thriller, announced Patrice Lawrence as a bold, fresh voice in young adult fiction. This promise is realised in her second book, a tender and complex story of first love, family and belonging."[13] Both novels are set in Hackney, London, where Lawrence has lived in Lower Clapton since 1997.[14]

Lawrence also writes a regular blog centering on her experiences of writing and having her work published, called The Lawrence Line, about which she has said: "There are a lot of people coming up behind you and you want to let them know how it happens, particularly for young black writers. I want to show that I've had a good experience of publishing and give people hope that they can tell their stories."[4]

Lawrence is a contributor to the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby.[15]

In October 2021, Lawrence was announced as taking on the role of ambassador for First Story, a charity promoting creative writing for young people, with a focus on those in low-income communities.[16]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Granny Ting Ting – for children (A & C Black, 2009, ISBN 978-1408111567, 80 pp.)
  • Orangeboy (Hodder Children's Books, 2016, ISBN 978-1444927207. Also available as an audiobook, narrated by Ben Bailey Smith.[17]
  • Indigo Donut (Hodder Children's Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1444927184)
  • Eight Pieces of Silva (Hodder Children's Books, 2020, ISBN 978-1444954746)
  • Rat (Oxford University Press, 2021, ISBN 978-0-19-849493-5)


  1. ^ New Daughters of Africa, 2019.
  2. ^ Flood, Alison (25 May 2021). "Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Patrice Lawrence win Jhalak prizes for writers of colour". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Patrice Lawrence page at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.
  4. ^ a b Anna James, "An Interview with Costa Shortlisted Author Patrice Lawrence", Books For Keeps, No. 221, November 2016.
  5. ^ "Notes on the Authors", The Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology, p. 181.
  6. ^ Caroline Carpenter, "Lawrence's Orangeboy scoops YA Book Prize", The Bookseller, 1 June 2017.
  7. ^ "The Waterstones Children's Book Prize | 2017 Category Winners", Waterstones.
  8. ^ "Orangeboy: Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children, winner of the YA Book Prize", Waterstones.
  9. ^ "Shortlist, 2016 Costa Children's Book Award", Costa Book Awards.
  10. ^ "Book Review: “Orangeboy” by Patrice Lawrence", MuggleNet, 12 July 2016.
  11. ^ Danuta Kean, "Waterstones children's prize shortlists reflect readers' search for hope in anxious times", The Guardian, 8 February 2017.
  12. ^ Alex O'Connell, "CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK | Review: Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence", The Times, 22 July 2017.
  13. ^ Fiona Noble, "Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence review – gripping urban teen fiction", The Guardian, 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ Max Eckersley, "'Hackney is full of stories': local author celebrates prestigious award", Hackney Citizen, 1 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Clapton bookshop to celebrate release of major anthology of African women's writing". Hackney Citizen. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Ambassador role for Patrice Lawrence at First Story". BookBrunch. 14 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Orangeboy" at Audible.

External links[edit]