Jemma Wayne is an English author of After Before (2014), Chains of Sand (2016), To Dare (2020), and When I Close My Eyes (2022). She has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for both The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and the Waverton Good Read Award.
Born to an American musician father, and an English mother, Jemma Wayne grew up in leafy Hertfordshire. She graduated from Cambridge University with an academic scholarship for achievements in the Social and Political Sciences. Wayne also obtained her PGDIP in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Westminster before becoming a journalist and writer.
She began her career at The Jewish Chronicle and later became a columnist for The Jewish News. Wayne is now a regularly featured blogger at The Huffington Post and continues to contribute to various publications, including The Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday, National Geographic, Red Magazine, and The Jewish Quarterly, among others.
Her first full-length work, Bare Necessities — a tongue-in-cheek guide to being a grown-up — was published by Piatkus in 2004.
Jemma’s first play, Negative Space, co-written with Rachel Sternberg and directed by Tom Hunsinger, was staged in 2009 at The New End Theatre, Hampstead, receiving critical acclaim.
Her first novel, After Before, was published by Legend Press in 2014. It was shortlisted for the 2015 Waverton Good Read Award and longlisted for the Guardian’s 2014 Not the Booker Prize and for the 2015 Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize.
The idea for After Before was first spawned after attending a SURF charity event organized by her husband in aid of survivors of the Rwandan genocide. There Jemma learned first-hand some of the lingering effects of the 1994 war.
Jemma also co-authored with Sonal Sachdev Patel the short novel Gita: The Battle of the Worlds (2018) for younger readers. It was published first in India and since in the UK, USA, and Brazil.
Jemma Wayne currently lives in North London.
Photo credit: Twitter @writejemmawayne