Let's celebrate The Year of the Rat!

This week, we are absolutely thrilled to dig into a huge slice of cake and crack open the bubbly for Clare Furniss. Her debut novel, The Year of the Rat came out in April and has been gathering media attention ever since, with great reviews in The Guardian and The Telegraph

Clare tells us more about her journey to publication, which started at a SCBWI event....

"Four and a half years ago I plucked up the
courage to attend the SCBWI Agents' Party. I had started writing for the first time since school on an Arvon course earlier that year, and had a few scenes of a manuscript about a teenage girl whose mum died in childbirth, called The Year of The Rat
I was especially keen to see Catherine Clarke, who represented Meg Rosoff, David Almond and Sally Gardner, and had a chat with her about my idea after the speeches. She was interested and asked me to send it to her when it was ready. I’m not sure either of us realised it would be more than three years until that day finally arrived! Writing with three young children, the youngest still a baby when I started, was hard work. There were a lot of early mornings and late nights, many despairing moments when I thought I’d never finish it. But I did. I felt proud of myself just for getting it done and was euphoric as I sent my manuscript to Catherine.

 A few days later Catherine emailed me back to say she loved the book. I could hardly believe it. She offered to represent me and within a couple of weeks she had sent the manuscript out to publishers. A fortnight later we went down to London for a two-day marathon of meetings with publishers. It was a whirlwind - looking back on it almost feels like a dream! Within a month I’d gone from sitting on my own at the computer, wondering if I’d ever finish my book, to an eight-way auction. It was what you dream of as an aspiring writing but never believe will really happen. 

 The Year of The Rat came out in April and has had some fantastic reviews in the national media and was even one of Simon Mayo’s Book Club choices on Radio 2! I know a lot of challenges lie ahead as a published author, but I am happy and proud to have got to this point. We all have moments when we feel like giving up, when we let self-doubt tell us we will fail. I know I’ve been incredibly lucky. But I would never have got to the point of being lucky if I’d given up (and I came close). There’s no guarantee of success, but if you love writing and you believe in your story, don’t let self-doubt stop you from trying."

You can catch up with Clare on Facebook. Meanwhile let's wish her congratulations with a big Wooohoooo!!


  1. Yay! Congratulations, Clare. I knew it, I knew it! :-)

  2. What a great way to start a career!

  3. Fab fab fab! So proud of you! I remember being wowed when I first heard an early sample at an Arvon course several years ago!


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