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T. E. Berry-Hart  

Tess Berry-HartBiography

T. E. Berry-Hart was born in 1974 in Nuneaton and grew up reading her older brothers' and sisters' books as the family did not have TV for the first six years of her life! She was never the same after reading Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings and John Wyndham's The Chrysalids back to back over one summer when she was 11. "It was almost like a mystical experience. For the first time I saw worlds that seemed more real than my own. I sat straight down and wrote a short story set in a magical ice mountain. It was rubbish, so I chucked it away and wrote another, then another, and it went on from there."

T. E. Berry-Hart won a music scholarship to Howell's School, Denbigh (www.howells.org) that same year, the grounds of which she would draw on later for the descriptions of the Old Hall and the Inn of Court of Genopolis. In 1988 she met the British explorer Robert Swann (the first man to walk unsupported to both the South and North Poles) after winning an environmental competition sponsored by him. The prize was a tour of the United States to raise awareness of global warming, but her most abiding memories are of ordering far more than she could eat on room service.

In 1991 she took a year out between school and university and worked first as a bartender in Istanbul and then as a teacher in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, where she would wear full shalwar kameez (national dress) and go exploring as much as she could, whether it was a Pathan wedding, a snow-covered mountain trek, a Peshwari ammunition market or an Afghan refugee camp.

At university she studied law at King's College, London, where she graduated with a first class degree and spent time juggling day jobs in various law firms while she worked on fulfilling her dream of becoming a writer.

In 1999 she wrote her first stage play, "LegoLand", which admitted her to the Royal Court Young Writer's Programme, where she was tutored by Hanif Kureishi, Simon Stephens and David Eldridge. In 2000 she was the British delegate at the Young European Playwright's Interplay festival in Poland, and had short plays produced at the Royal Court as part of their young writer's festivals. In 2003 she became writer-in-residence at the Blue Elephant Theatre in London where her play "Waking Up Suddenly" was produced.

In 2004 she was encouraged to enter the Richard and Judy Book Competition by the playwright Cristina Teixeira, who had an idea for a world where pain no longer existed. When this idea was placed as the central difference between Citizens and Naturals, the story of Genopolis gained its philosophy and its heart. The collected characters and elements of twenty years fell into place and the first chapter was written almost overnight. The book was finally purchased by Scholastic Children’s Books, but the synopsis was so long that it had to be divided into two parts!

TE Berry-Hart currently lives in London, and loves ginger, Pink Floyd, small furry animals, and playing tennis (but only when she wins).

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Escape from Genopolis by T. E. Berry-Hart   Click here to find out more about Escape From Genopolis


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