Potters Bar author celebrates virtual book launch of young adult thriller

PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 July 2020

Potters Bar author Penny Joelson with her new young adult novel 'Things The Eye Can't See'. Picture: Supplied

Potters Bar author Penny Joelson with her new young adult novel 'Things The Eye Can't See'. Picture: Supplied


A Potters Bar author has celebrated the launch of her latest young adult novel via Zoom, with more than 80 people attending.

Penny Joelson held the book launch on Thursday, July 9, to mark the release of ‘Things The Eye Can’t See’– which tells the story of 15-year-old Libby, who is visually impaired.

Libby receives a secret note and, along with her guide dog Samson, works to solve the mystery of a missing boy.

Friends, family and publishers took part in the launch from their own homes, with Penny reading from her book and the video call breaking up into smaller groups so guests could mingle.

Penny, who teaches creative writing at City Lit in London, said: “It was daunting to organise such a large-scale event on Zoom and I was worried about the possibility of technical hitches – but I was thrilled with how it went.

“I didn’t think it would be possible to create such a lovely atmosphere online with over 80 people but it was great.”

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Her previous books, ‘I Have No Secrets’ and ‘Girl in the Window’, are also thrillers featuring main characters with disabilities or chronic health conditions – the former with cerebral palsy and the latter with chronic fatigue/ME.

Penny said: “I’ve worked with people with disabilities and have a chronic health condition myself (ME), but it was only when I decided to write from the viewpoint of a character with cerebral palsy that I looked to see what other books had been published and found shockingly few.

“That made me aware that there is very little representation in children’s and young adult fiction, and that needs rectifying.

“Books need to be windows and mirrors – reflecting and representing everyone in society and giving insight into experiences outside our own.”

Penny was also inspired to write thrillers and mystery stories after reading lots of Agatha Christie as a teenager, and also likes to include elements of emotional and family drama.

Speaking at the launch, Penny’s agent Anne Clark said: “It’s been a pretty amazing couple of years since the launch of Penny’s last book nearly two years ago.

“Penny just keeps winning awards – she’s won an incredible 12 awards in addition to the two she’s won during lockdown.”

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