British-Ghanaian writer Abena Eyeson is a Faber Children’s FAB Prize 2021 Commended Text winner and was longlisted for the Literary Consultancy TLC Pen Factor Writing Prize in 2022.

She writes contemporary fiction focussed around black children, with her current novel Looking Up being described as “a breezy read that gives great insight into teenage life, immigrant viewpoints, and multicultural perspectives,” by Anastasia Shown of African Access Reviews USA.

Her literature is part of a growing movement of black authors putting black children at the centre of their stories. I was able to speak to Abena about her career so far, the writing industry and her future plans.


There are many authors in the writing industry, what differentiates you?


“I write stories with Black British children at the heart of them. They are stories that allow children to face challenges but also overcome them. They entertain while challenging the reader and I hope they will not only be read by children but adults too.”


What is your book “Looking Up” about?


“My book is about a 13-year-old girl called Esi who has been living in Ghana with her grandmother for several years. The story starts when Esi’s grandmother tells her that her mother, who lives in London, has called for her. The book is about the highs and lows of Esi’s first few months in London - the challenges of getting to know her mother who is like a stranger, starting a new school, making new friends, understanding the British way of life and the sudden appearance of her father who she hasn’t seen since she was four.”


How have you found breaking into the writing industry, and what word of advice would you give to aspiring writers?


“Writing is a difficult industry to get into, so if you want to be a writer, you have to be very determined and resilient. You have to be willing to keep trying even when things don't go your way. However, if you have the passion and the will to keep going, at some point you will have a breakthrough. Then your stories will be available for the world to read.”


What is the importance of reading books for children?


“Reading is a great way for children’s minds and imagination to grow. It helps them develop empathy and a greater understanding of people who are different to them. It is also said that through a book, you can travel without leaving your house.  I believe that.”


Do you have any regrets in your career so far, or do you take those difficult times as learning experiences?


“I am an emerging writer, so I still have a lot of things to learn, as I'm only at the beginning of my career.  But having said that, I have learnt a lot along my journey so far.  I believe that with every piece of writing I do and every experience I go through, I get stronger as a writer.”


What can you tell us about your future plans and projects?


“I’m currently finalising a new manuscript, and I am hoping to secure a new literary agent. I also write picture books, with one being submitted to a prize and the other to a publisher soon. I have been added to Oxford University Press' list of possible authors for their Primary literacy list and will be starting my first commission for them shortly.”


To support Abena’s mission to create more representation, especially for black children, in literature, you can purchase her novel ‘Looking Up’ from Amazon.

It is also available from other online bookshops.  

You can find out more about Abena at