Scarlett Thomas

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Scarlett Thomas
Scarlett Thomas, in 2006
Scarlett Thomas, in 2006
Born4 July 1972 (1972-07-04) (age 46)
Notable worksThe End of Mr. Y
Our Tragic Universe
PartnerRod Edmond[1]

Scarlett Thomas (born 4 July[2] 1972 in Hammersmith) is an English author and creative writing teacher. She has written nine novels, including The End of Mr. Y and PopCo, and the Worldquake series of children's books.


She is the daughter of Francesca Ashurst,[3] and attended a variety of schools, including a state junior school in Barking, and a boarding school for eighteen months. During her teenage years she was involved in demonstrations against the Poll Tax, nuclear weapons and the first Gulf War. She studied for her A levels at Chelmsford College and achieved a First in a degree in Cultural Studies at the University of East London from 1992-1995.[4]

Her first three novels feature Lily Pascale, an English literature lecturer who solves murder mysteries. Her next three novels - Bright Young Things (2001), Going Out (2002), and PopCo (2004) - took her away from genre fiction, and she used them to "explore what it means to be trapped in a culture where your identity is defined by pop culture."[5]

Her next novel, 2006's The End of Mr. Y brought her a new level of success,[6] and was sold in 22 countries. She followed this 4 years later with Our Tragic Universe, originally to be titled Death of the Author.[7][8] In writing her ninth novel, The Seed Collectors[9], her research included studying towards an MSc in ethnobotany.

Recently, she started writing children's fiction, publishing Dragon's Green in 2017, the first in the Worldquake series. A second, The Chosen Ones, will follow in 2018.[10] She wrote about her experiences of writing children's fiction, including how much she enjoyed the worldbuilding.

Away from writing fiction, she has taught Creative Writing at the University of Kent since 2004,[9] and has previously taught at Dartmouth Community College, South East Essex College and the University of East London .[11] She reviews books for the Literary Review, the Independent on Sunday, and Scotland on Sunday. She has also served as a member of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2008) jury, along with Director Iain Softley and presided over by actor Danny Huston[12]

She has stated previously was working on a book called "41-0"[13] about her year of returning to tennis - she had stopped playing when she was 14 but took it up again in 2013 to see "how high [she] could get in the rankings for [her] age": she placed in the Wimbledon Seniors in 2014. She channelled her athletic ability into running and walking, and tracked it via numerous apps, leading to a realisation she had been acting obbsessively about her fitness, which she chronicled in The Guardian in 2015[14] and was followed by, in her words, a breakdown.[15]

She shares with Ariel, the protagonist in The End of Mr. Y, a wish to know everything:[16]

"I'm very much someone who wants to work out the answers. I want to know what's outside the universe, what's at the end of time, and is there a God? But I think fiction's great for that--it's very close to philosophy."


In 2001 she was named by The Independent as one of 20 Best Young Writers.[17] In 2002 she won Best New Writer in the Elle Style Awards, and also featured as an author in New Puritans, a project led by the novelists Matt Thorne and Nicholas Blincoe consisting of both a manifesto and an anthology of short stories.[17]



  • Dead Clever (1998)
  • In Your Face (1999)
  • Seaside (1999)
  • Bright Young Things (2001)
  • Going Out (2002)
  • PopCo (2004)
  • The End of Mr. Y (2006)
  • Our Tragic Universe (2010)
  • The Seed Collectors (2015)

Children's Fiction[edit]

  • Dragon's Green (2017)
  • The Chosen Ones (2018)

Short stories[edit]

  • Brother and Sister and Foot - Curly Tales series, on Radio 4, August 2005
  • Interlude - Product Magazine, Winter 04-05
  • The Whole Country - Zembla Magazine, Summer 2004
  • Why My Grandmother Learned to Play the Flute - Curly Tales series, on Radio 4, November 2003
  • The Old School Museum - Big Night Out, HarperCollins, 2002
  • Debbie’s Dreams - The Stealth Corporation magazine, 2002
  • Goldfish - Butterfly Magazine, Issue 5, 2000
  • Mind Control - All Hail the New Puritans 4th Estate, 2000
  • Five Easy Ways with Chilli - 2008[18]


  • Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories (2012)


  1. ^ "Rod Edmond". Bridget Williams Books. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Acknowledgments for The End of Mr. Y
  4. ^ Archived biography and interview from official website
  5. ^ Bookbrowse Biography
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ When pop goes postmodern: Scarlett Thomas (LA Times)
  8. ^ Amazon UK - Scarlett Thomas 'Our Tragic Universe'
  9. ^ a b About Scarlett Thomas
  10. ^ Worldquake Series. Simon and Schuster. 2017.
  11. ^ Scarlett Thomas - School of English
  12. ^ Edinburgh Winners - Eurostar's Somers Town, Man on a Wire, Herzog's Encounters at End of the World
  13. ^ Love match: how I finally got to play at Wimbledon
  14. ^ Thomas, Scarlett (2015-03-07). "Nowhere to run: did my fitness addiction make me ill?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  15. ^ Thomas, Scarlett (2017-03-24). "Scarlett Thomas: Why I was wrong about children's fiction". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  16. ^ Bookseller Interview Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b Tales of Scarlett woman (Edinburgh Evening News)
  18. ^ Mulberry Street blog about Five Easy Ways with Chilli Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]