Katie Ward is an author and creative writing lecturer in Suffolk. Her debut novel, Girl Reading, was published in the UK (Virago 2011), US (Scribner 2012) and South Korea (박하 Bakha 2014). Girl Reading was a Cactus TV Book Club selection and a book of the week on The Oprah Blog. She received the Clarissa Luard Award in 2013 from Hilary Mantel.
Katie’s second novel, Pathways, will be published by Fleet (Little, Brown UK) on 4 April 2024. It is contemporary fiction – about Cara, a dedicated neuroscientist with a research post at Cambridge; and Heather, her almost-stepdaughter, who goes to Las Vegas without a plan and won’t commit to anything. The themes of this book include: neuroscience, philosophy, connections, and self-imagery. It is – unexpectedly – a love story.
Katie says this:
‘Novels are intimate. They are an opportunity to share a point of view, to show and feel what cannot easily be explained. Some ideas are too intriguing and multifaceted to ignore: you stick with them because there is more you need to know. You’re trying to get as close as possible to your characters and story, until they are revealed. You can struggle with a manuscript for years, and eventually it’s finished because you’ve found the answers you were looking for. Then your novel goes out into the world and it becomes a mystery again.’
Pathways was inspired by the hard problem of consciousness (sometimes known as the mind-body problem). While working on the manuscript, Katie founded Wolsey Writers at New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich; survived breast cancer in her 30s; travelled around the world; and added her support to the English Collective of Prostitutes’ campaign to #MakeAllWomenSafe.
She now teaches creative writing at University of Suffolk on the BA and MA courses. Her expertise includes contemporary fiction, historical fiction, short stories, and writing for performance. Before she was a novelist, Katie worked in the public and voluntary sectors, including at a women’s refuge, and for a member of parliament.