Best-selling author to launch her new novel at Telford College

A best-selling author who attended Telford College is returning to the campus to officially launch her latest novel – and giving students chance to get involved in the planning process.

Emma Cooper will premiere the paperback version of her new romantic page-turner, The First Time I Saw You, at the college’s Orange Tree restaurant on January 9.

The mother-of four studied art and design at Telford College before taking a job as a teaching assistant at Wrockwardine Wood junior school while trying to secure her first big publishing deal.

Her breakthrough novel, The Songs of Us, has since been published in seven different languages, and sold all over the world.

The First Time I Saw You | Emma Cooper
The First Time I Saw You | Emma Cooper

Telford College’s current English and media students are now working with Emma to help create the launch event, which will include a book signing, and question-and-answer session.

Emma, 42, explained why she had chosen the Haybridge campus for the launch.

“When I visited last year to speak to A Level English students, I was bowled over by the warmth and enthusiasm from both the young people and staff at the college.

“As an ex-student, I wanted to share the experience of an official book launch and hopefully inspire students who may not have considered choosing the publishing world as a career path.

“When we think of publishing as a career, we tend to think of writers, but there are so many different aspects to this as a career choice.

“I wanted to showcase the public relations and marketing/media side of things, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the Telford College students to experience that.”

In the run-up to the event, the college is holding a short story competition – and the winner will be announced at the book launch.

The writing competition will be judged by Emma, her agent Amanda Preston, and one of her editors Katie Sunley.

Emma will also be reading an extract from The First Time I Saw You – a story which spans Derry, Washington DC and Wales, as well as including references to Shropshire.

An animated trailer is also being designed by Telford College’s media students to promote the book.

Emma said: “I’m so looking forward to it. I was one of those students who didn’t really know what career I wanted. I think if I’d have had an opportunity like this, then I may have found my way earlier rather than at the grand old age of 40!

“It doesn’t matter what background you come from, if you believe in yourself and you want to be a writer, you can do it.

“My advice to students is to get as much experience as you can. Use your teachers, drain them of all the wonderful knowledge they have. Prepare yourself for failure – you will get knock backs and that’s OK, just keep on going.

“There are so many different opportunities in the writing process. If you love spotting mistakes, plot holes, twists and turns, it might be that being an editor would be a job where you would be happiest.

“If it’s the covers that you love, that draw you in, going into cover design might be where your skill set lies. The publishing world has so many branches . . . it’s up to you, which tree you climb.”

Critics are already lavishing praise on Emma’s new novel. Josie Silver, who has topped the New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller lists, describes it as ‘beautifully observed, tender and genuinely funny’.

  • The launch of The First Time I Saw You will take place at The Orange Tree, on the Haybridge campus, from 2pm to 3.30pm on January 9, 2020. More information about Emma, and the book can be found at 

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