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From homelessness to published success

City writing student has memoir published.

by Hollie Jenkins

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A City University London student is celebrating after having her first memoir published.

Naturi Thomas completed her final term of her MA in Creative Writing (Creative Non-Fiction) at City University London in October 2011 and will graduate this year.

However, her memoir, How to Die in Paris, is already on shelves in the US, having being published by Seal Press. 

Described as an edgy, poetic and darkly comic memoir, the book tells the story of Naturi's journey, from escaping a tortured past in New York to pursue a new life in Europe - only to find herself broke, desperate and contemplating suicide on the streets of Paris.

Naturi started work on her memoir while she was homeless.

"I've always loved writing and even when in such despair it gave me a kind of solace. I would write things down on napkins, pieces of paper, whatever I could find. It helped me process what was happening to me."

After completing her memoir, in 2010 Naturi decided she wanted to hone her writing skills by studying in the UK.

"Having grown up in New York, I had studied writing at college in the US. Studying for my Masters in the UK really appealed to me because while I could study in English, I would experience an entirely different learning environment.

"Working with the programme director Julie Wheelwright and others while completing the degree really gave me a new perspective on writing.

"I particularly enjoyed the course because of the diversity of experience and writing styles I was subjected to - everyone in the class was so different. While it's great to already have one piece of work published, I've learnt a lot from being on the course that will help me improve my writing moving forward."

For her dissertation Naturi worked on a new manuscript If I Hold This Out to You There's No Way You Could Reject It which she says is about:

"Working as a nanny when I needed one of my own, finding an instant family in a crowded rooming house and what happens when you get involved with your married boss."

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