meet the author

Born in Cheltenham, UK, in 1969, I spent my earlier years growing up in south-west London until my family upped and packed for a new life in southern Africa.

Specifically, in Zimbabwe, where I encountered a tough, but excellent boarding school and a world of fantastic experience.

Contact me for talks, book clubs, workshops, creative writing tutoring and school visits

Descendent of an International cricketer and sea-sickness sufferer - in the days when the only means of reaching the tour of Australia required many weeks at sea – I realised ambition was similarly never going to be easy when I decided, at the age of seventeen, that I wanted to be an author.

I'd always had a fertile imagination, but as far as I'm concerned it's the school I need to thank for inadvertently nurturing my will to write through strong discipline (there was no such thing as an excuse) and a sound education, both inside and outside of the classroom.

I returned to England with my life-plan in my pocket, and set about a university degree and then jobs. Needless to say, getting published didn't happen overnight, and writing had to become "the other job" for which I didn't get paid while life continued.

But the main thing is, I wrote – late at night, on the train to work, in my lunch hours... There was never a good enough excuse to let me stop.

And besides, it's all I've ever really wanted to do.

Jason Wallace
Jason Wallace on his 'dark' book

As part of his series of meeting the short listed authors for the Costa Book of the Year award, the BBC's Nick Higham has spoken to me when I won the Costa prize for the best children's book of 2010.

View video on BBC site
BBC Meet the author
Out of Shadows

out of shadows

"A unanimous winner... A stunning debut novel without a false note. Accomplished and powerful, it changes the way you think." - Costa winner, 2010

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Zimbabwe, 1980s... The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has come to power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and the start of a promising new era.

For Robert Jacklin, it's all new: new continent, new country, new school. And very quickly he is forced to understand a new way of thinking, because for some of his classmates the sound of guns is still loud, and their battles rage on… white boys who want their old country back, not this new black African government.

Boys like Ivan. Clever, cunning, wicked Ivan. For him, there is still one last battle to fight, and he's taking it right to the very top…

out of shadows

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Encore feature

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Encore feature
Read the opening chapters

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a children's classic - Daily Express      gripping - The Times      a powerful, devastating read - Patrick Ness      impossible to look away - Markus Zusak      excellent - Independent on Sunday      provocative - Keith Gray      mastery - Kirkus Magazine, starred review      original...thought-provoking and ultimately shocking - Good Book Guide      one of those rare, outstanding books - Browns Books for Students      extraordinary... startlingly original - The Bookseller      expert and disturbing - Book Trust      memorable, moving and disturbing - Lovereading4kids      gripping - Write Away


Encounters is my long-awaited (and trust me when I say no one felt the wait more than me) second novel, due for release on 4 May, 2017. It came about after a lot of writing not one but two not-so-good novels, and worry that I was going to be a one hit wonder, and I believe the wait has been well, well worth it. I'm extremely excited about Encounters. I honestly thought I'd never match Out of Shadows, but - for me - Encounters is my best novel yet.

I'll be posting any updates to this page soon.