Liverpool Hope Logo Liverpool Hope Logo
Liverpool Hope Logo

Book Launch for Hope Writer

Close up of a book

A proud member of staff at Liverpool Hope University took a step closer to having her debut novel published this week.   

Melissa Grindon is Creative Projects Officer at Hope, having previously studied Dance and English Language at the University. 

Staff member holding her book up

In June last year she was thrilled to win a writing competition called ‘Pulp Idol’, which is run by leading Liverpool literary organisation Writing on the Wall.

As part of the prize, the first chapter of Melissa’s comedy-infused book Cabbage Babies, has been included in a new publication, ‘Pulp Idol - Firsts 2022’. 

And speaking after the launch of Pulp Idol - Firsts 2022 - a raucous event held in Toxteth Library and which featured live readings and a Q&A with the featured authors - Melissa says: “I'm still on cloud nine after last night. 

“To share the room with so many talented creatives was a privilege, and having the opportunity to read my first chapter, officially published in an anthology, felt incredible. 

“I am so grateful to Writing on the Wall for their guidance throughout the past year. They really know how to lift you up as a writer, and put your best strengths forward.

“I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity, and everyone around me has been so supportive - I couldn't have asked for a greater experience for my first publication."

pulp idol book cover

As well as Melissa’s chapter being showcased in Pulp Idol - Firsts 2022, another incredible perk from her win is that her novel Cabbage Babies will also be put under the noses of agents and publishers working in collaboration with Writing on the Wall. 

And that, fingers crossed, will pave the way for a full publishing deal for Mel and Cabbage Babies

So what is Cabbage Babies all about? 

Northern Ireland-native Melissa says it’s of the ‘historical fiction/young adult’ genre, and confronts some of the controversial issues surrounding teenage pregnancy and abortion. 

She explains: “The narrative focuses on the lives of two schoolgirls in a small-town community in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. It addresses themes of underage and teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, and postpartum psychosis, all taking place during the height of the Troubles.

“It follows Martine, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl. She goes to a strict all girls Catholic high school, frequently bickering with her best friend Mary-Anne. 

“Martine falls pregnant, only a few weeks after dating one of the boys from the other high school in the town. She confides in Mary-Anne, who only belittles her, comparing her to Louise O’Neill, a mentally challenged girl in their school who fell pregnant the year before, and carries round a baby made of cabbages. Louise’s baby’s whereabouts is unknown, and the father a mystery. 

“Martine forms an unlikely connection with Louise, as she tries desperately to figure out what to do. Abortion is illegal, and she is petrified she will be condemned by her community if anyone finds out.”

Melissa isn’t resting on her laurels - as a second book is already in the works. 

She reveals: “Since winning the competition last year, the support and motivation given has really pushed me forward to the end goal of completing my novel - along with this, I've also opened up to the possibility of a second new adult novel, this time, set in Liverpool.

“The future is looking very exciting, and I just can't wait to get started.”

The judging panel for Pulp Idol consisted of Kevin Duffy, Co-Founder of the award-winning Blue Moose Books, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Award winning author, Laura Jones, Interim Publisher of Dead Ink Books and Genevieve Pegg, Publishing Director of Harper North. 

Yvonne Battle-Felton said: “Congratulations to all of the finalists! What a competition. Each piece is a celebration in its own right. Together this is an exciting collection, a promise of what is to come. Personally, I can’t wait to read where your stories take you.”

You can order a copy of Pulp Idol - Firsts 2022 via the Writing on the Wall website. 

Published on 05/04/2022