Lauren Beukes is an award-winning, internationally best-selling novelist who also writes comics, screenplays, TV shows and journalism. Her novels, including The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters and Zoo City have been translated into 23 languages and are being developed for film and TV.
Beukes is a former journalist, who has covered HIV+ beauty pageants, ganglands cops and great white shark tourism. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Her fiction has been described as high-concept and genre-blending, with a social conscience that examines the fracture points of society and who we are.
Awards include the Arthur C Clarke Award, the University of Johannesburg prize, the August Derleth Award for Best Horror, the Strand Critics Choice Award for Best Mystery Novel, the RT Thriller of the Year and the Mbokodo Award from South Africa’s Department of National Arts and Culture. Her work has been praised by Stephen King, George RR Martin, James Ellroy and Gillian Flynn as well as The New York Times, The Guardian and NPR.
Her other published work includes the corporate dystopia, Moxyland, the non-fiction, Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past and a collection, Slipping, short stories, essays and other writing.
She also writes comics, including Survivor’s Club, an original horror series with Dale Halvorsen and Ryan Kelly, the NYT-best-selling Fables spin-off, Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom with Inaki Miranda, and a Wonder Woman-in-Soweto one-shot for kids, The Trouble With Cats with art by Mike Maihack.
In animation, she was head-writer, co-creator and occasional director of URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, a sci-fi action adventure show for 7-9 year olds, which ran for three years and 104 x24min episodes on SABC. She has also written for Disney UK’s Florrie’s Dragons and Mouk.
In 2010, she directed a documentary, Glitterboys & Ganglands, which won best LGTBI film at the Atlanta Black Film Festival.
She’s given talks on storytelling at tech/culture/design/lit conferences around the world, including Tedx Johannesburg, Webstock and D-Construct. She’s spearheaded charity art show fundraisers for all her books, raising R100 000 for RapeCrisis and R350 0000 for kids lit org, Book Dash.
When she’s not on tour, or travelling for research, from Detroit to Zagreb, Muskat to Port-au-Prince, she lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her nine year old daughter.
Broken Monsters is about art, social media, memes and a killer trying to remake the world in his image, which has had good reviews from The New York Times to The Guardian and NPR and won best suspense novel in the ALA’s 2015 Reading List. The novel is being developed for TV by Endemol’s Additional Dialogue.
The Shining Girls, about a time-travelling serial killer and the survivor who turns the hunt around, won the August Derleth prize for Best Horror, the Strand Critics Choice Award for Best Mystery and the University of Johannesburg Prize. It was a Sunday Times best-seller and is being developed for film by MRC and Leonardo diCaprio’s Appian Way.
Zoo City, described by the New York Times as a “phantasmagorical noir” takes place in an alternate reality Johannesburg where criminals are cursed with magical animals and a young woman with a sloth on her back has to find a missing pop star. It won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Kitchies Red Tentacle and is being developed by Oscar-nominated South African producer, Helena Spring.
Moxyland follows a headstrong activist, a idealistic young artist with an addictive bio-chemical sponsorship deal, a charismatic dickhead vlogger, and a rogue blackhat who thinks she can outsmart her parent company, whose stories collide in a dystopian corporate future where people are controlled by their cell phones and VR hides double agendas.
Survivors’ Club, co-written with Dale Halvorsen, with art by Ryan Kelly, asks what if the 80s horror movies were real and where are those kids today? It’s been developed for TV by Vertigo Films.
Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom is a spin-off from Bill Willingham’s Fables. The comic is a J-horror take on Rapunzel, with art by Inaki Miranda.
Slipping, stories and other writing is Beukes’s debut collection of short fiction, from realist lit about township vigilantes and 419 email scammers, to high concept science fiction about the perils of harvesting medicinal plants on a hostile planet or a young woman competing against her self-doubt and engineered competitors, in an anything-goes enhanced x-games.
Please note that Lauren Beukes is unable to read unpublished manuscripts, offer one-on-one writing advice or mentorship. For more information see Frequently Asked Questions