A STUDENT from Ruislip hailed as the next big thing in literature has signed a six-figure, seven-book deal with the publishers of Harry Potter.
The first in a series of seven fantasy books written by Samantha Shannon, a former pupil at Bishop Ramsey School, will be published by Bloomsbury next year.
The central character in the futuristic adventure is a 19-year-old clairvoyant called Paige, who escapes from a life of crime.
Ms Shannon, 20, wrote her first novel – rejected by publishers – while studying for her GCSEs at the school in Hume Way.
This week she praised Bishop Ramsey for nurturing her talent and said she had high regards for one teacher in particular.
The Oxford University undergraduate said: “All the English department were excellent, but I have particularly fond memories of Frances Smith, who taught me English during my first few years at secondary school.
“She sadly died in December 2008, and I was given an English Literature award named after her the year I left.”
On hearing news of the book deal, Bishop Ramsey said in a statement: “Samantha was a gifted and talented student who wrote like an adult throughout her school life and always wished to become an author.”
The series that so excited one of the world’s biggest publishing companies is The Bone Season, which describes a dystopian world in 2059.
Bloomsbury describe the book as ‘a startling combination of a unique literary voice, a fully conceived, terrifying parallel world and a narrative pace that grips like a vice’.
The publisher described Ms Shannon as ‘extraordinarily talented’ and said The Bone Season would ‘challenge the worldwide bestseller list domination of Stephanie Meyer’s popular Twilight series’, a vampire saga made into a film trilogy.
Samantha’s first book is due to be published on September 12, 2013.