Alumni Services

Janey Louise Jones

Janey Louise Jones wrote an early draft of her first children’s book on a trip with her History of Art classmates and is now published by Random House where her books have been translated into Mandarin and Portuguese.

Name Janey  Louise Jones
Degree Course MA General Honours (English)
Year of Graduation 1991

Your time at the University

Janey Louise Jones

I chose Edinburgh because it had, and still has, such a great reputation for English Literature. It provided me with a great grounding for a life in books because we looked at all the greats from each century and the standard of lecturing was second to none.  I liked that we did English Language too, and I have never forgotten taking an exam in the McEwan Hall and gazing at the beautiful ceiling as I working out voiced and voiceless velar fricatives. The whole arts course taught me to be disciplined in all endeavours and I am so proud that I can comment on Milton, Shakespeare, and Dickens et al. in any context.

During my time there, I spent lots of time in the library, carrying piles and piles of PHYSICAL books around the place! I enjoyed great outside courses too, from geography to History of Art, sociology and philosophy. Last year, I bumped into a lecturer who seemed unchanged – how amazing when I now have a son in second year at university!

In the summer I would give tours of the city on open top buses, and also visited elderly people on the Southside as part of a university project. They were happy days and have informed my whole life and career since. In my time at Edinburgh, I recall writing and sketching an early draft of my Princess Poppy story on a train to Glasgow, en route to an art exhibition at the Birrell Collection with my History of Art classmates.

I was first published by Penguin Random House nearly ten years ago and have never looked back.

Janey  Louise Jones

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

After graduation, I did a year of teacher training and became an English teacher at George Heriot’s School in the city, which I adored. All my training in analysis of literature became invaluable as I taught a mix of novels which were both familiar to me and previously unknown.

I had three sons during second half of the Nineties, so that was a blur of pride and exhaustion! But this was when I decided to write my Princess Poppy story again, and seek a publisher. This took two years of sheer determination. I was first published by Penguin Random House nearly ten years ago and have never looked back. My books are now published in many languages including Mandarin and Portuguese. And I signed a nine book deal with a US publisher a few months ago for a new series. I always had an ability with words (thank goodness, as that’s all I was good at!) but my time at Edinburgh University gave me the skills to make this career possible.

Best of all, all my children love to read and we enjoy discussing this together. At the recent funeral of my much loved father, my eldest son chose and read a section from Joyce’s Dubliners which was deeply moving.

Alumni wisdom

If you would like to become published: Think of the most determined you have ever been. Now, treble that level of determination. That is a tiny fraction of how determined you will have to be. And finally, appreciate the opportunity and privilege of studying at one the finest universities in the world. It is an honour.