Frances Kay's shocking and gripping first novel is Micka (Picador).
Brutalised by his older brothers and neglected by his depressed and inadequate mother, Micka is barely surviving, encouraged by his class teacher, Miss Glennie, who sees his talent for drawing, and by his gypsy friend Blue, who simply accepts him for who he is.
Laurie Parker is precocious, lonely and has a scientific interest in suffering; emotionally starved by his academic father and his eccentric mother; he tells his thoughts to his secret log book.
The two eleven year olds become friends, sharing their unhappy fantasies, until events begin to spin out of control and the grim inevitability of violence and possibly even murder descends on their lives.
Frances graduated from Warwick University in 1970, with a degree in English and European Literature and she has a postgraduate Diploma in Social Administration from the University of York.
She has worked with children since the 1970s in all kinds of out of school settings; with prisoners at Blundeston high security men’s prison in Suffolk, doing drama and personal development; with gypsies and travellers in Ireland, England and Scotland.
She trained in psychodrama for seven years and completed all the course work to become a psychodrama group psychotherapist; the experience has had a huge influence on her writing.
She has taught creative writing at Master's Level.