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Tracy Darnton. Author.

Photo: Charlie Matters


I’m an author who loves writing thought-provoking, intelligent thrillers for young adults.

Originally, I studied law at Jesus College, Cambridge and worked as a solicitor and law lecturer in London and Bristol. Volunteering as a librarian in a school for seven years gave me plenty of ideas for stories. I graduated with Distinction from the Bath Spa MA Writing for Young People and my story, The Letter, won the Stripes /The Bookseller YA Short Story Prize – published in I’ll Be Home for Christmas in 2016.

My first novel, The Truth About Lies, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and was a World Book Night title. My YA novel, The Rules, is about a girl on the run from her prepper dad and his extreme set of rules. In Ready or Not, a teenager goes missing during a game of hide and seek at a late night party.

Recently I’ve worked as an Associate Lecturer in creative writing on the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University and as a mentor for Word Space with Literature Works.

I am available for book signings, commissions, educational events, festivals, discussions and panels, readings, residencies, talks and workshops. Find me on Twitter. I blog monthly at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

My Books


Millie’s summers have revolved around a shared family holiday at Creek House since forever, hanging out with the other kids – Matt, Charlie, Jem and her best friend Kat. It’s always been perfect.

However this year secrets and tensions threaten to spoil everything and only Mille wants to play the childhood games that once filled their days. Until the last night party prompts a game of hide and seek. And in the time it takes Millie to count to twenty, Kat disappears.

Five play the game…four remain. Surely one of them knows what happened that night? People don’t just disappear, do they?


‘heart-thuddingly nervy thriller’ The Financial Times

‘this tense, taut novel is chillingly believable’ The Irish Times

‘Tense, suspenseful and explosive, Darnton’s electrifying novel is a page-turner of the highest order’ Waterstones

A YA thriller about Amber on the run from her prepper dad. Her whole childhood has been spent preparing for disaster and living by her dad’s extreme set of rules. Now she has to stay hidden from him – the man who taught her everything she knows about surviving and staying under the radar. His rules are kicking in again even though she’s tried so hard to forget them. What’s her dad got planned as the ultimate preppers’ bunker? Is the pull of the rules too strong, or are they always meant to be broken?


“Thought-provoking and crisply written’ The Guardian

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

World Book Night Title

Jess remembers every single detail of every single day, but when her past starts to catch up with her, she’s forced to question it. When there’s so much information in your head, how do you sort the truth from the lies?


The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Current Events and Projects

School visits, festivals and bookshop signings around Ready or Not publication.

Wychwood Festival – 2022

Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival – 2022

Bath Children’s Literature Festival – 2021

Creative Writing Adjudicator at the Mid-Somerset Festival 2020

Selected author for World Book Night 2020 April 2020

Centurion Book Award Q&A— Shortlistee – April 2019 

Wychwood FestivalMay 2019

Various panels, YA groups and workshops at festivals including YALC, bookshops, school visits and library groups


Longlisted for the 2022 UKLA Book Awards

Shortlisted for the Bucks Book Award Sue Harris YA Prize 2022

Runner-up in the Hounslow Teen Read 2022

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019/20 

Shortlisted for the Concorde Book Award – 2020

Winner of the Warwickshire Year 9 Book Award – 2020

Shortlisted for the Centurion Book Award 2019

The YA Short Story Prize – 2016

Recipient of Arts Council Developing Your Creative Practice grant

Find me on twitter @tracydarnton or instagram @tracydarnton.