Clare Chambers

Writer for young adults, Novelist
University of Kent at Medway

Clare Chambers was born in south-east London in 1966. She studied English at Hertford College, Oxford and spent the year after graduating in New Zealand, where she wrote her first novel, Uncertain Terms, published when she was twenty-five. She has since written eight further novels, including Learning to Swim which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association best novel award and was adapted as a Radio 4 play, and In a Good Light which was longlisted for the Whitbread best novel prize.

Clare began her career as a secretary at the publisher André Deutsch, when Diana Athill was still at the helm. They not only published her first novel, but made her type her own contract. In due course she went on to become a fiction and nonfiction editor there herself, until leaving to raise a family and concentrate on her own writing. Some of the experiences of working for an eccentric, independent publisher in the pre-digital era found their way into her novel The Editor’s Wife (Century, 2007). When her own children were teenagers, inspired by their reading habits, she produced two young adult novels, Bright Girls and Burning Secrets published by HarperCollins.

As well as writing fiction, Clare has worked as a freelance copy editor, creative writing teacher and part-time school administrator. Her most recent novel Small Pleasures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2020) is set in the London suburbs in 1957 and concerns a woman claiming to be a virgin mother.

She lives with her husband in south-east London.

Clare Chambers
Image credit: Anna McCarthy Photography

Fellowships

University of Kent at Medway 2020/21