Josa Keyes

Novelist, poet, mother, feminist, doubter, editor, digital person, tells jokes

Josa Keyes was born on a chicken farm in Kent among cherry orchards and hop gardens where she ran wild for the first seven years. After that, everything changed. The family moved to a gloomy great house on a hill, where her father and mother established a Sixth-Form College that dealt with the fallout between traditional British public school and the Swinging Sixties. Young was packed off to a boarding prep school is Sussex where she found she could read after all in order to escape the boredom and misery of being separated from her family. Years later her mother told her that the headmistress had grumbled about having to restock the library - luckily with the flowers of children's literature: Puffin Books edited by Kaye Webb. Both her all-girls schools were reasonably academic - unusual then - which enabled her to get into Cambridge University to read English Literature. There she wrote abysmal short stories, went to lots of parties and danced about in red satin camiknickers singing in German on the Edinburgh Fringe. In her last year she entered the Vogue Talent Contest, which led to a job in the Book Department at Vogue. Five years of magazine apprenticeship were followed by senior commissioning editor jobs on the Times, Country Living, Elle Decoration and other publications, and many articles and columns written on everything from sex education to book groups, bishops to foundlings. In 1994, she discovered the internet in a locked cupboard at work, and the excitement of finding herself in an infinite virtual library/art gallery has never left her. She began producing digital content in 1995, which led to a career shift from paper to digital. She started blogging in 2002, has been blogging for HuffPo since 2007, and adopted social media in the same year. She is now a multimedia content strategist/copywriter, working for big brands, when she isn't writing novels and short stories and performing her poetry. She lives in West London. Her first novel, One Apple Tasted, was published in 2009. The second, Sail Upon the Land, was published 1 December 2014.