Author goes back to Telford roots for book launch

A best-selling author is returning to her Telford roots to launch her latest book, and the college that helped her launch a career is now coming together to help the launch.

English and Media students Beth Calaby, Lauren Hodgkinson and Michael Bourne helping with the event planning with author Emma Cooper
English and Media students Beth Calaby, Lauren Hodgkinson and Michael Bourne helping with the event planning with author Emma Cooper

Emma Cooper, a former Telford College student, will return to the Haybridge Campus in Wellington to premiere The First Time I Saw You at the college's Orange Tree restaurant on January 9, 2020.

In the meantime she is helping to judge short stories for a competition.

The mother-of-four studies art and design at Telford College before taking a job as a teaching assistant at Wrockwardine Wood Church of England Junior School while looking for her first publishing deal.

Her breakthrough novel, The Songs of Us, has since been published in seven different languages around the world.

Telford College’s current English and media students are working with Emma to prepare for the launch event in January, which will include a book signing and question-and-answer session.

Emma, 42, explained why she had chosen the Haybridge campus for the launch: “When I visited last year to speak to A Level English students, I was bowled over by the warmth and enthusiasm from both the young people and staff at the college.

“As an ex-student, I wanted to share the experience of an official book launch and hopefully inspire students who may not have considered choosing the publishing world as a career path.

“When we think of publishing as a career, we tend to think of writers, but there are so many different aspects to this as a career choice.


“I wanted to showcase the public relations and marketing/media side of things, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the Telford College students to experience that.”

In the run-up to the event, the college is holding a short story competition and the winner will be announced at the book launch. It is being judged by Emma, her agent Amanda Preston, and one of her editors Katie Sunley.

Emma will also be reading an extract from The First Time I Saw You – a story which spans Derry, Washington DC and Wales, with references to Shropshire.

A trailer is being designed by Telford College’s media students to promote the book, while level one catering students will be providing refreshments at the launch.

Emma said: “I’m so looking forward to it. I was one of those students who didn’t really know what career I wanted. I think if I’d have had an opportunity like this, then I may have found my way earlier rather than at the grand old age of 40.

“It doesn’t matter what background you come from, if you believe in yourself and you want to be a writer, you can do it.

“My advice to students is to get as much experience as you can. Use your teachers, drain them of all the wonderful knowledge they have. Prepare yourself for failure – you will get knock backs and that’s OK, just keep on going.

“There are so many different opportunities in the writing process. If you love spotting mistakes, plot holes, twists and turns, it might be that being an editor would be a job where you would be happiest.

“If it’s the covers that you love, that draw you in, going into cover design might be where your skill set lies. The publishing world has so many branches, it’s up to you which tree you climb.”

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