Publishing Director Ed Wood acquired rights for this pacey, emotional thriller from Hayley Steed. The Witness follows a young black man arrested for murder, having been seen with the victim by two white witnesses. His newly qualified female barrister battles racial prejudice as she tries to prove his innocence.
The story’s themes hit close to home, with Alexandra having been vocal about the prejudices she regularly faces as a young, mixed-race female barrister. These experiences were penned in her acclaimed memoir, In Black and White (Hachette / Octopus). She recently gained a flurry of press attention after sharing on Twitter how she was mistaken for a defendant three times whilst in court. Her thread soon went viral, triggering an investigation, and Alexandra has since featured on outlets including The Independent and Good Morning Britain to discuss ongoing racial discrimination within the UK court system.
Wood noted: “Alexandra is a natural writer who combines her unique experience with great expertise and emotional complexity. The Witness is a novel only she could write and will genuinely break new ground in the genre.”
Wilson commented: “I’m really looking forward to telling this story. It’s fiction but something that will feel all too real for many of us.”
Steed added: “I’m delighted that Alex is turning her hand to fiction – she’s already accomplished so much in her career and through her memoir, and I hope The Witness will spread her message even further.”
Alexandra Wilson is a junior barrister and the eldest of four children. Her mother is White British and her father is Black British. Her paternal grandparents were born in Jamaica and came to England as part of the Windrush generation.
Alexandra grew up in Essex and studied at the University of Oxford. She was awarded two prestigious scholarships, enabling her to research the effect of police shootings in the US on young people’s attitudes to the police. She went on to study for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and her Masters‐in‐Law at BPP University in London.
She was awarded the first Queen’s scholarship by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, a scholarship awarded to students showing exceptional promise in a career at the Bar.