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Sweet success for LSC graduate

Former LSC student Jane Elson has recently published her debut novel for children, A Room Full of Chocolate, and we are delighted to see it has been charming both young readers and critics alike.

Jane attended London Studio Centre under the directorship of Bridget Espinosa, who was the first to mark her out as future writer – long before the idea had ever entered her own head – after she penned a piece for a drama assessment. However, Jane’s first love was acting, and after winning LSC’s Best Actor award she spent many years in the industry, before falling in love with the improv comedy scenes of Los Angeles and London.

With her skills as an improviser helping to develop her creative writing, Jane’s first full-length work was a play inspired by her workshops with young offenders, many of whom – like Jane herself – had been diagnosed with dyslexia. Winning the 2007 King’s Cross Award for New Writing, Leonardo Stole My Crayon takes a look at group of young prisoners whose lives are changed when they enter an art competition.

A Room Full of Chocolate emerged after Jane found herself telling stories to children at her local vet surgery, who wanted to know more about her beloved disabled cat Griffid. Inspired by this, she began a course in writing for children, and her first novel was published earlier this year by Hodder Children’s Books. It tells the tale of Grace, whose life is turned upside down when she is sent to live on a Yorkshire farm with her grandfather, while her mother receives treatment for cancer. Semi-autobiographical, the book has been compared to the children’s classic Goodnight Mister Tom, and has received wonderful reviews from both its young readers (“the best book I have ever read!” – Children’s Books By Kids, For Kids, The Guardian) and older critics (“a touching, beautifully imagined debut” – Amanda Craig, novelist and journalist).

Jane talks fondly of her time at LSC, not just because of the acting opportunities it gave her, but also of a wider importance in her career: “I’m very glad I studied at LSC. It gave me an understanding of so many diverse and different things, and it especially means I understand the people and world of dance. You can see this in the references in the book, for example when Grace sees a ballerina as she walks past a stage door.”

The acting skills Jane gained at LSC are still in use in her work as author, as she delivers many talks to children at schools and events. It is fantastic to see the varied and interesting successes that graduates of London Studio Centre go on to achieve, and we wish Jane the very best of luck for A Room Full of Chocolate and all her future work.

To find out more about A Room Full of Chocolate, and to purchase your copy, click here.

Added 28-February-2014 14:00:00

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