UCL Alumni


Discover books by UCL alumni this World Book Day

2 March 2023

Looking for your next favourite book? To celebrate World Book Day 2023, we’ve compiled a list of titles by UCL alumni authors.

Two women looking through book shelves in UCL Main Library

UCL alumni all over the world have published interesting and award-winning books and stories that span a wide range of genres. Check out a list of highlights below, featuring recent and upcoming titles in fiction and children’s books.


Cover of 'A Man of Understanding' by Diana Janney
A Man of Understanding
, Diana Janney (MA Philosophy 1992)

Genre: Contemporary fiction/ family drama

Shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize 2022/23, A Man of Understanding is a story of bereavement and healing. When Blue’s parents die suddenly, he is sent to live in the mountains of Mallorca with his grandfather, Horatio, whom he’s never met. A challenging new relationship begins and the pair slowly bond and figure out how to communicate through their love of poetry, art and culture.


Just Got Real, Jane Fallon (BA History 1982)

Genre: Romance novel/ humorous fiction

Just Got Real is the latest book from bestselling author and UCL alumna, Jane Fallon. When happily divorced Joni finds Ant via a dating app, neither is entirely honest about who they are. But when they meet in real life, they fall for each other. Soon they are a happy, steady item. Until Joni discovers Ant is still on the app, still dating…So she decides to take revenge.

Book cover of 'Honey & Spice' by Bolu Babalola

Honey & Spice, Bolu Babalola (MA United States Studies: History and Politics 2017)

Genre: Romance/ contemporary romance

Honey & Spice is the debut novel from Bolu Babalola, author of the popular short-story collection, Love in Colour. Set on a university campus, Honey & Spice tells the story of Kiki Banjo who has no interest in love and unexpectedly finds herself caught up in a fake relationship with the man she warned her friends about.


Never, Ken Follett (BA Philosophy 1970)

Genre: Thriller/ political fiction

Expertly researched, visionary in scale and the first contemporary novel in over a decade from master storyteller Ken Follett, Never dissects the power plays and geopolitical crises that could lead to World War III. The book will take you on a high-stakes journey from the heat of the Sahara Desert to the political arenas of North America, East Asia and beyond, and sees a world edging closer to an unprecedented global crisis.


The Festival, Sarah J Naughton (BA English 1996)

Genre: Mystery/ thriller

If you love a suspenseful story, The Festival, from critically acclaimed author and UCL alumna Sarah J Naughton, may be for you.

Childhood friends Orly, Lenny, Mel and Thea have drifted apart. For Lenny's 40th birthday, Thea suggests a weekend away at a festival in their hometown. It's a chance for them all to reconnect. But their holiday soon takes a sinister turn…


The Only Suspect, Louise Candlish (BA English 1989)

Genre: Psychological thriller/ suspense

The new cautionary tale of obsession, love, jealousy and deception from The Sunday Times bestselling author of Our House and The Other Passenger.

When a proposed nature trail threatens to unearth a chilling secret, the usually reserved Alex becomes a changed man. A secret threatens to surface from years ago, back in Alex's twenties when he got entangled with a young woman called Marina, who threw both their lives into turmoil. 


Book cover of 'The Paris Apartment' by Lucy Foley
The Paris Apartment
, Lucy Foley (MA English Issues in Modern Culture 2009)

Genre: Mystery/ thriller

In The Paris Apartment, Jess has recently lost her job and shows up to her half-brother's place in Paris looking for refuge.However, he's nowhere to be found.

This Hitchockian story from bestselling author Lucy Foley tells a tale of suspicion, secrets, and murder, all set against the enchanting backdrop of Paris.

Coming soon...

Book cover of 'Sita in Exile' by Rashi Rohatgi
Sita in Exile
, Rashi Rohatgi (PGCE English 2015)

Genre: Novella/ family & relationships

When second-generation American Sita moves to the Norwegian Arctic, a mongoose, Nenn, and a surfer, Mona, offer her a warm welcome, but she’s drawn to Mona’s partner, Morten, who owns the only land on which she feels whole. Drawing upon Hindu mythology, Sita in Exile is a lyrical exploration of migrant sisterhood and brown motherhood in today’s Europe.

Winner of the 2022 Miami University Press Novella Prize, Sita in Exile will be published on 2 May 2023. 

Book cover of 'The Nigerwife' by Vanessa Walters
The Nigerwife, Vanessa Walters (LLB Law with French Law 2000)

Genre: Thriller/mystery

Vanessa Walters’ debut novel follows a young British woman who, after marrying a rich man in Lagos, joins a community of foreign women living in Nigeria known as the Nigerwives. When the woman mysteriously disappears on a boat trip, her estranged auntie travels to Lagos to discover what happened to her, uncovering a dark web of secrets beneath her picture-perfect life. The Nigerwife will be published on 2 May 2023.

Children's books

Front cover of 'A Kind of Spark' by alumna Elle McNicoll

A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicoll (MA Publishing 2019)

Elle McNicoll's debut novel tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there's more to the story of these 'witches', just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?

Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, A Kind of Spark has also been adapted for television and will be on UK and US screens on 2 April 2023.


Lockdown Looms: Reggie’s Birthday Party, Banji Alexander (PGCE Primary 2016)

Banji Alexander’s debut children’s book tells the story of seven-year-old Reggie as he navigates the trials and tribulations of celebrating a birthday during a pandemic. Covering topics including masks, home schooling and bereavements, the book was written “to allay the fears of my learners surrounding the pandemic, help them to understand what they were going through and facilitate discussions around mental health and wellbeing,” says Banji. Read our interview with Banji.


Our Tower, Joseph Coelho (BA Archaeology 2002)

This magical story follows three children living in a tower block, as they embark on a fantastical adventure which helps them see their home in a new light. Their home becomes a place where magic and adventure can happen.

Written by multi-award winning poet and Waterstones Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho, the story is drawn from Coelho's own experience growing up in a tower block and looking for adventure.