Justina Hart (1988, English) is a novelist, poet, copywriter and former journalist.
Her books include The Rhythm of Stones, a collection of her poems and photographs, and an art book, Angels: millennial messengers. She has written a children’s picture book about underpants and a play about centenarians. An essay about Will Self and the M40 made its way into Common Ground: around Britain in 30 writers and she contributed a chapter to The Rough Guide to First-Time Africa.
Justina worked for many years as a features writer for national newspapers, her mornings spent interviewing film stars and afternoons interviewing recovering alcoholics. In-house, she worked her way down from the Guardian to the Daily Express, holding commissioning editor roles at both.
These days, amongst other things, she’s an expert at building websites for organisations ranging from the British Council to Wanadoo. She’s had poems on London buses, been on Radio 4 and the the World Service, and taught inner city kids podcasting and poetry. And she ran Storyville, organising talks with well-known agents and publishers to help writers with the business side of things. She has won numerous awards. Her short stories have been described by poet, critic and poker player, Al Alvarez, as “Stylish, beady eyed, wildly inventive and very funny.”
Justina Hart on being a freelance writer:
“Being a writer is, on one hand, just what I do for a living. But on another, it’s also where I’ve spent half of my life – dealing with these sticks and stalks of language and kicking, nudging or seducing them into shape. Writing means I can be many characters in my own life – I wanted originally to be an actor and I am. Doing so many different types of writing and related activities as a freelance – sometimes extremely different kinds at once – means life is a constant if occasionally high wire adventure. I don’t always know what’s coming next and have had to learn, at times, to pay the rent by magic or faith. Adrenalin and deadlines are my trusty friends. After 20 years of making my living as a writer, I just about feel I’ve earned the right to call myself one.”