Nina de la Mer

Nina de la Mer

Nina de la Mer was born in Scotland and grew up there and in Brighton, where she now lives with her husband and two children. After studying modern languages at the University of Sussex, she worked for ten years in book publishing before starting to write herself. Giving voice to those who contemporary fiction often unfairly neglects, her novels centre on ordinary people negotiating the challenges of life in the modern city.

Shortlisted for the 2010 West Dean Writer’s Retreat Competition and warmly and widely reviewed, her debut novel 4 a.m. was published in 2011 by Myriad Editions. In 2012, Nina was awarded an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts to write her second novel, Layla. The bold and unflinching story of a naïve young lap dancer who dreams of a quieter life, Layla was published by Myriad Editions in February 2014.

An enthusiastic contributor to Brighton’s vibrant live literature scene, Nina regularly appears at events such as Grit Lit and Ace Stories, and has also contributed original short stories to spoken word events. Her work has been covered in the press in outlets as varied as the Guardian, Brighton Magazine, Books for Scotland and The Glasgow Herald, who remarked of her debut: ‘It’s about time we had a female Irvine Welsh.’ 

Between daydreams of translating German fiction and the practical demands of looking after her two young children, Nina is currently planning a third novel, an ensemble piece about the lives of the rave generation who refuse to grow up despite family and other commitments.

'In the early 1990s I was a student in Hamburg, where I met British soldiers on the rave scene who were struggling to balance military life with their weekends spent clubbing – their lives were the inspiration for a story which I felt simply too good not to be told...'

Read Nina's interview with

"Work hard, finger-achingly hard. Make sure your work is absolutely perfect before submitting to agents and publishers, and, lastly, have something to say. No point working hard at the bare bones of your writing, if there is nothing of substance to flesh it out into something fully fledged and challenging for the reader."

Read Nina's interview with global student website i-studentlife where she talks about her experience of studying at Sussex University in the early 1990s ('eye-opening') and discusses the motivation levels needed to be a writer ('olympian').

'How long did it take me to write my first novel? From its first incarnation as a series of letters to its final draft before publication, I’d say five years. What’s encouraging is that the unpublishable drivel of those letters somehow transmogrified over time into something that readers, real live readers, are picking up in bookshops.'

Read Nina's interview, How to procrastinate, for local writing group Brighton Writer's Retreat and learn just what it is that gets in the way of her writing.