Joyce EfiA Harmer


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Joyce Efia Harmer was born in London. She has a BA in English Language and Literature from King's College London. Joyce has taught English in Italy and Australia and more recently in a busy London comprehensive. In 2016 Joyce was selected as one of six to take part in the Megaphone Writers' Scheme to support diverse voices in literature. In 2017 she was selected as a finalist in Penguin's WriteNow scheme. She lives in London with her husband, two sons and a Havanese puppy. When Joyce is not writing or reading the latest blockbuster, she can be found singing with her band The Shoreless Sea.

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How Far We’ve Come is Back to the Future meets Gone With the Wind, but instead of going back in time to ensure her parents get together at the high school prom, teenage Obah must use the gift of time travel to liberate everyone who is enslaved with her on a plantation in 1830s Barbados. A considerably greater challenge, then, than any that faced Marty McFly. “Babes born white cry drops of silver, but the babe born black like we? Him cry salt tears.”

Octavia Butler for a teen readership, Harmer’s debut novel follows Obah, an enslaved girl on a Barbados plantation, as she meets a white boy unlike any of the brutal ones she’s known – a boy who comes from the 21st century. When she decides to trust Jacob, and go with him to his own place and time, she discovers undreamt-of freedom, at an unbearable cost. Both hopeful and heartbreaking, this gripping book turns a searchlight on the changing faces of injustice through time.

This is a seriously impressive debut, the kind of book that is bound to win prizes not just because it tackles important issues —though it certainly does - but because it does so skilfully. The authenticity of Obah’s voice and worldview never falters, never gives in to easy or reductive answers, and we come to understand her world and its limitations, as well as seeing our own through fresh eyes. Read it now.


School visits

Interactive presentations, workshops and talks for students in Years 7 to 13.

Gold colored condenser microphone over waveform.

Voice over

Bring my warm, expressive and characterful voice into your project.

Black Lives Matter Concept

Keynote Speeches

Speeches for your organisation on how far we've come & our next steps towards equality.

Mentoring for leadership


Let me help you make your literary ambitions come true.


Inspire your students TO FIND


School visits, WORKSHOPS & TALKS for Years 7 - 13 from A critically-acclaimed Debut author

Inspiring children to love reading is my lifelong passion. In my historical debut novel, How Far We’ve Come, the teenage protagonist finds a sense of true liberation through her discovery of the written word.

So to help you inspire your students to find the writer within, I would love the opportunity to visit your school to deliver a powerful workshop and Q&A covering topics such as:

  • Creative writing and how to find your voice
  • How to research and write a novel
  • Demystifying the publishing industry and advising students on the kind of careers it offers

With these sessions my aim is to help your students develop a love of literature as deep as my own: and even, I hope, as profound as Obah’s.

I look forward to hearing from you!

What Students Say

"I really enjoyed the session. The way she weaved her personal story and her mum's story into the novel she wrote was so interesting." CC, Year 11

"I really enjoyed the writing exercise. I've never thought about how describing the smells and tastes of food can make the memory and voice of a character feel so real." YA, Year 11

"Joyce is a really engaging speaker. I got absorbed in the story of her travels and how she used real historical documents and details to include in her novel."

FA, Year 12

What Teachers Say

“Joyce delivered a warm and wonderful workshop to our Year 9 students ... Our students used Joyce’s writing prompts to produce a range of settings and characters in their own stories.”




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Darley Anderson


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