Sarah May

Author and Creative Writing Tutor

New novel BECKY published by Picador January 2023

'This is writing at the level of myth: fully formed, recognisable, unique.'

- Guardian -

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'Sarah May has a rare talent for melding the farcical with the tragic, this is one book you'll be happy to read in a rush.'

- Daily Mail - 

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'Spanish City should be read by whoever it was who said that a good novel could not be written by a writer under the age of 30.'

- Independent - 

The Rise and Fall of the Queen of Suburbia

Ever wondered what your neighbours really get up to behind closed doors?

Like Mike Leigh directing Desperate Housewives, a brilliantly 1980s suburban drama.
- Elle -

The narrative is beautifully observed, with the subtle touch of a writer who makes every action and mannerism feel plausible. Sarah May has a rare talent for melding the farcical with the tragic, and has produced a novel which - but for an ending worthy of Tom Sharpe - is a scathingly successful piece of social commentary.

- Daily Mail -

Sarah May has brought the obsessions, ambitions and class

paranoia of Thatcher's Britain beautifully back to life. It's a visceral read, but this is one book you'll be happy to read in a rush.

 - Daily Express -

An observant and side-splitting funny read.

- Sun -


The Internationals

Set in a Macedonian refugee camp during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, The Internationals spans seventy-eight tense days from the commencement of NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia to the withdrawal of Serb forces from Northern Kososvo.

The Internationals

The Internationals is a compelling work of fiction and armed with an intelligence that sets its own distractions against the diet of 'abridged reality' on which our taste for euphemistic spin, in a language or time of war or conflict, continues worryingly to depend.

- The Spectator -

Rare perception and finesse…Finding a tone that lets cynicism co-exist with compassion is no mean peace-keeping feat. The Internationals achieves it with admirable poise.

- Independent -

May is a compassionate writer and her ability to capture the contradictions of humanity in duress makes this a highly readable and engaging novel.

- Big Issue -

The Internationals

Spanish City

A teacher takes his teenage kidnappers to meet a ghost in this tale of wartime dreams and peacetime disappointments, of love, betrayal, death and resurrections.

Spanish City should be read by whoever it was who said that a good novel could not be written by a writer under the age of 30.

- Independent on Sunday -

May’s achievements in this book are mildly miraculous. She is, unlike many of her peers, a novelist through and through.

- Independent on Sunday -


Other Books


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SARAH MAY is the highly-acclaimed author of 7 novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Her second novel, Spanish City, was shortlisted for the Encore Award, and The Internationals was longlisted for The Orange Prize. Her other novels include best-selling trilogy, The Rise and Fall of The Queen of Suburbia, The Rise and Fall of a Domestic Diva, and The Wonder Girls.

The Nudist Colony

Follow 14-year-old Aesop as he enters a world where the law is broken on a far grander scale than anything he's used to...

​An extraordinary first novel…boundlessly ambitious…This is writing at the level of myth: fully formed, recognisable, unique. The dis-location felt upon reading The Nudist Colony is the shock of the new.

- Guardian -

A fierce and exotic fable of shifting identity and viral invasion, subtly plotted, unnervingly precise in the weight and balance of language. A prodigious debut.

- Iain Sinclair -

The novel's settings are vividly conveyed ... a series of haunting images that reveal England to be a country rotting in its own past ... an impressive debut.

- Times -

This first novel is impressively serious. As well as having an original and powerful imagination, May can write deftly ... Some episodes are self-contained tours de force.

- Times Literary Supplement -

A fiction of smart originality.

 - Independent on Sunday -

More sympathetic than Amis's London Fields, as real as The Royle Family, The Nudist Colony shows major talent.

 - Big Issue -



Sarah is a tutor on Faber Academy’s six month writing a novel courses, as well as Start to Write and online courses. She teaches UEA/Guardian Masterclasses and also offers one-to-one mentoring through Jill Dawson’s Gold Dust programme.

About Gold Dust

Gold Dust is a unique mentoring scheme for writers, founded by novelist Jill Dawson. An invaluable resource for new and emerging novelists and authors of non-fiction, Gold Dust offers eight hours of face-to-face meetings with an established novelist, biographer or short-story writer, usually taking place over a year. In between meetings the mentor will read your work for a further eight hours, and offer feedback on the writing, as well as an insider's advice on the publishing world and finding an agent.

About Faber Academy

A comprehensive six-month writing course for the serious writer, with access to some of the biggest names in publishing. Benefit from the structure of regular workshops covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words on a page, narrative structure and style and re-writing.


Sarah has been very important to me in my development as a writer. Her advice, time and energy has made entering the writing industry possible. Her mentoring is invaluable: both her sage editorial eye in honing the writing craft , and her support through the challenges of writing a first novel. She is an exceptional tutor, and her belief in my concept transformed my confidence and pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. I cannot recommend Sarah highly enough as a mentor.

Alice Coubrough

Represented by Sam Copeland 

It's incredibly reassuring to know I can always ask Sarah for her advice. As a relative newcomer to the industry, I very much appreciate having someone with her wealth of knowledge. She's very generous with her time too and I don't think I would have got half this far without her.

Harriet Cummings

'We All Being As Strangers' and 'The Last Of Us'

Sarah started guiding me as a writer in 2015, and because of her insight, time and energy, my concept for a novel transformed into a bestseller. My entire career is shaping because of Sarah teaching me how to become a better writer, and then teaching me how to talk to the industry about it.

Darren O'Sullivan

Author of 'Our Little Secret' and 'Close Your Eyes'


News & Events

28 September 2022 - 8 March 2023
Faber Academy | Writing A Novel

9 - 16 July 2022
Casa Ana | Novel Writing Retreat

For inquiries relating to Sarah's books and book events, please contact:

Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd

291 Grays Inn Road

London, WC1X 8QJ


© Sarah May Writer 2020