S. J. Baker teaches English in a secondary school in Hull, where she does her best to pass on her own love for reading and writing to her students. She lives in East Yorkshire with her husband and two exuberant black Labradors (the well-behaved dog in her forthcoming novel is very much a fictional creation).
Books have always loomed large in Sue’s life, so it was perhaps inevitable that after completing a degree in English Literature at Cambridge she should train as a teacher and spend much of her life sharing her love of story-telling with young people. Reading aloud to her own children as they grew up (including four full recitals of ‘Lord of the Rings’, once to each child – is that a record?) confirmed her in the belief that we learn about life and how to live well from the books that we read.
Sue believes that the popularity of dystopian fiction in YA literature arises from the way it allows young people to explore their own response to the darker side of human experience, from a safe perspective. Such novels allow us to explore, imaginatively, different responses to life’s challenges, and to affirm that – even in the most difficult circumstances – we can retain our integrity and humanity.