SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Britta Jensen releases new YA novel

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Britta Jensen on the Oct. 1st release of her newest YA novel, Hirana’s War!  It’s a story about living with disability, overcoming the ravages of war, and finding hope in the most unusual of places.Cover photo of "Hirana's War" by Britta Jensen, featuring a profile of a young woman's face against a backdrop of a dark coastline, buildings built into the cliffside, and two tall towers

The science fiction novel, which is the sequel to Eloia Born (winner of a Discovery Prize from the Writers’ League of Texas), features a visually impaired young woman named Leanora whose songs are able to heal wounds and transport people across galaxies.  When a rebel group invades her home planet, Leanora’s gift could save her planet from destruction.  But to protect everyone she loves, she must first begin training with the alien race that blinded her people.

Britta Jensen author photo against grey brick wall

The book grew out of Britta’s twenty-two years living overseas in multilingual environments and her experiences growing up with individuals who had disabilities. “The more YA I read,” Britta says, “the more it felt like multicultural and disabled people weren’t featured as heroes in speculative/YA fiction.” In addition, Leanora’s courage to take charge of her planet’s future was particularly inspired by the students Britta worked with as a teacher over the years, most of whom “had lived very itinerant lives, were exposed to warfare at a young age and were expected to take on adult duties without any of the true advantages of being an adult—often caring for siblings, shouldering household responsibilities as well as being expected to excel in school.”

Reflecting on her journey to publication, Britta says, “I’m one of those typical writers who suffers from a lack of self-confidence and wants everything to be almost perfect before it goes out into the world. But, that approach is totally crippling to developing one’s art. I think one of the key changes for me as an author was when I decided to stop going it alone and signed up for classes, conferences, joined SCBWI and applied for a mentor. I started to gain the skills to submit more, take risks and allow myself to ‘do things badly’ so I could learn and grow as an artist.”
Britta will be celebrating the release of Hirana’s War with a virtual launch party on Saturday, Oct. 10th at 4pm.