DMU grad goes from misfit to published author

Harnessing her feelings of not fitting in has enabled Kimberly Redway to achieve her ambition of becoming a published author.

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The De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate was commissioned by Bloomsbury Publishing - publishers of best-selling authors such as J.K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini and Margaret Atwood - resulting in a heartwarming take on black identity in modern Britain.

Kimberly’s debut title, Misfit, is aimed at reluctant readers aged 11 plus and centres on George Turner – a young boy who doesn't fit in with his family and whose older brothers are trying to make sure that he's an outsider at his new school.

“I can really relate to George. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of supportive people in my life, but there have been moments where I’ve felt like I haven’t fit in,” said the 30-year-old from Birmingham.

“Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but wanting to be a writer when you’re from a Caribbean background can be seen as a bit out there among your peers and beyond. I think people expected me to pursue something they considered to be more ‘concrete’ like becoming a teacher or a nurse.”

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Kimberly was encouraged to follow her dream at 11 years old, when her teacher suggested she could become a writer. 

She said: “Having someone else tell me I could do it at a young age was great. I’ve been writing for years so actually getting published feels amazing.

“I used to think that I would be happy if just one person read my work, but now I want lots of people to read it. I write because I want to help people to understand themselves better and I know how much reading has helped me personally to achieve this.”

Choosing to study Creative Writing and English Literature at DMU was a surprisingly easy decision for methodical Kimberly. 

“I drew up lists and graphs before visiting universities to help me focus on what was important, but as soon as I got to DMU, the campus was so peaceful that I could just see myself there,” she said.

“Also, Leicester was so beautiful to me. It’s a smaller city than Birmingham so felt friendlier and more intimate.”

Being among other writers was a university highlight for Kimberly, who said: “I got to do what I loved surrounded by people who were like me. 

“Getting graded and receiving feedback was so valuable because I never knew what people thought of my writing before I went to university. 

“DMU taught me so much, like how to finish a novel, how to write to a brief by taking different subjects and making them your own - which really helped me with Misfit - and how to be entrepreneurial.”

Another DMU highlight for Kimberly was meeting Bali Rai, her favourite children’s author while she was growing up, who was a guest speaker on her course. 

Since graduating in 2010, Kimberly has continued to develop and use her writing skills. As well as young adult fiction, she has written an anthology and a number of magazine articles.

She has also started a blog to promote events around her hometown - Coquettish Birmingham - and is close to finishing a master’s in management and entrepreneurship.

Posted on Wednesday 4th September 2019

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