Emma Henderson grew up in London. She spent several years working in France, before returning, in 2005, to focus on writing. She gained a MA, with distinction, in Creative Writing at Birkbeck in 2006, and was a finalist in the 2007 Asham Award.

Her first novel, Grace Williams Says It Loud was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been nominated for the London Book Award 2011 in the London Awards for Art and Performance. It is also shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2010, the Commonwealth Writers Prize in the Best First Book category, the Author’s Club First Novel award and the Waverton Good Read Award. More recently, it was shortlisted for the Galaxy Book Awards in the New Writers section. Her second novel, The Valentine House, was published by Sceptre in April 2017. It was The Times book of the month and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Gold Crown Award in 2018.

She has been a writer in residence at Cove Park and, in 2020, won a Hawthornden Fellowship.

Her short stories have appeared in several publications, including, most recently, the Mechanics Institute Review, 2021. 


Emma teaches Creative Writing at undergraduate, MA and PhD level. At postgraduate level, her focus is fiction, with some life writing. At undergraduate level, she teaches poetry as well as fiction. She has successfully supervised to completion five creative writing PhDs (two with no corrections, three with minor corrections) and is currently the lead supervisor to seven PhD creative writing students.


Selected publications

  • Henderson E. 2010. Grace Williams Says It Loud. Sceptre. 
    Henderson E. 2017. The Valentine House. Sceptre. 

Full publications list

Books, i.e. Full-length Novels
  • Henderson, E. (2017) The Valentine House
  • Henderson, E. (2010) Grace Williams Says It Loud    
Chapters within books, i.e. short stories, translations and poems
  • Henderson, E. (2021) The Joy of Cooking, Mechanics’ Institute Review
  • Henderson, E. (2008) Lauxes esuba, in: R.Lattin-Rawstrone & P.Blaney (Eds)
  • Tales of the Decongested (London, Apis Books) pp. 239-243
  • Henderson, E. (2007) A l’ombre, in K.PULLINGER (Ed) Is This What You
  • Want? (London, Bloomsbury) pp.43-54
  • Henderson, E. (2006) Shut Up, Grace, in J.BELL (Ed) Mechanics Institute
  • Review, Issue 3 (London, Birkbeck) pp.15-26
  • Henderson, E. (2003) ‘A Stitch in Time’ and ‘Cranes’, Magma Poetry, June issue
  • Henderson, E. (1983) Language, Literature and Ideology (trans.) in: R.Sarkonak
  • & l. Greene (Eds)The Language of Difference: Writing in Quebec(ois) (Yale University Press, New Haven) pp. 30-49.

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