What is the life story of author Jessica Townsend?

Jessica Townsend published her first book at the age of 32- the same age as her idol J.K. Rowling was when she wrote the bestselling “Harry Potter series.

Growing up on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, Townsend’s sister Sally persuaded her to write a book. She came up with “The Three Koalas” and she enjoyed it so much that she made a wish: someday she wanted to become a famous writer

Her wish came true when she turned 18. One day, while attending a music conference, Townsend found the keynote speaker to be so boring that she began scribbling on the paper lying in front of her. She wrote down a story about a little girl who went to live with her aunt Morrigan, a slightly eccentric, but magical woman.

As she started writing the story, she realised that the aunt was actually much more interesting than the niece. So Townsend began writing her backstory, chalking out what the characters childhood would have been like and how she grew up and what turned her into this interesting person. And that’s how Morrigan Crow was born.

The next “Harry Potter”?

The first book in the “Nevermoor” series, “Nevermoor Trials of Morrigan Crow”, tells the story of Morrigan Crow, a girl who is born on the unluckiest day of the year. Everyone believes her to be cursed, which means she is blamed for everything that goes wrong, like local misfortunes and, hailstorms. To make matters worse, she is destined to die on her eleventh birthday. The only thing that can save her is a membership to the Wundrous Society. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. Little Morrigan must pass through four difficult trials to emerge victorious. Each participant possesses a special talent that helps them sail through the trials. Will Morrigan be able to identify her special power?

“Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow was released in 2017. It bagged two major book awards – ‘Book of the Year at the Indie Book Awards and the Gold Australian Book Industry award. So far, three sequels “Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow” and “Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow have been released. And, Townsend has already plotted out seven more books in her head.


On the wildside

Before she became a writer, Townsend was working at the Australia Zoo run by Terri Irwin and her late husband Steve Irwin. Her job was to sell souvenirs and goodies to curious tourists at the gift shop. Irwin recognised her talent and promoted her to write for the in-house wildlife magazine “Crikey”. Soon, Townsend became its editor.

The bidding war

It took nearly a decade for Townsend to finish writing the first book “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow”. Eight major publishing houses entered into a bidding war to acquire the rights for the book. Finally, Hachette Book Group managed to sign a three-book deal for the U.S., Britain and Australia for a six-figure sum. Simultaneously, the film rights were sold to 20th Century Fox.


Picture Credit : Google

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