A born-and-raised Richmond author of young adult fiction has received recognition from the toughest of critics – teenagers.

Sarah Govett’s Territory trilogy deals with dark totalitarian themes in a world where global warming has submerged much of Earth under water.

With space at a premium, children who fail their dreaded exams face certain death after banishment in 'the wetlands'.

Impressed students aged between 11-14 from 24 schools in London and the South East responded to the chilling idea by voting the first book in the series, The Territory, as winner of the Trinity Schools Book Award 2018.

Sarah said: “I think there’s a natural lean towards the dark side at that age, I think dark issues are quite essential.

“They really teach you what it means to be human, it’s the reason teenagers enjoy dystopias so much.”

Classic dystopian fiction has been a draw for Sarah herself since her teenage years, particularly The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and The Death of Grass by John Christopher.

But what gave her the inspiration for such an original take on the genre?

Sarah said: “I have run my own tutoring company for the past 13 and a half years.

“People say it’s easier now, but there’s a lot pressure in GCSEs that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

“I think I’d had the idea for a book for a while, but no time to write it.”

When Sarah had her first daughter, Noa, she decided she had nothing to lose by going for it and writing the first book.

“I had no idea if it was going to get published,” she said.

But even it wasn’t a big hit, Sarah had named the protagonist after Noa so she’d have stories about someone with the same name as her when she grew up.

The idea was to write when Noa slept, but Sarah admits, “She wasn’t a very good sleeper, so it was half hours at a time!”

Her books are popular even with young people that don’t normally enjoy reading, usually because they haven’t found the right book.

The humour in the series resonates with teenagers too; Sarah was determined to make her female character witty and believes humour is a very human coping mechanism.

Now in its fourth year, the Trinity Schools Book Award was launched in 2014 by librarians from 22 independent senior schools in the Trinity group to celebrate quality fiction.

The TSBA accolade follows Sarah’s win of the Gateshead Book Award in January of 2017.

The final instalment of The Territory trilogy, Truth, is published on March 29. 

Sarah is having a launch for Truth on Thursday March 22 at Clapham Junction Waterstones, in St John's Road, from 7.00-9.00pm.

She said she'd be delighted to meet her fans and sign books on the night.

Waterstones in Richmond, Sheen, Kew and Barnes also sell each book in the Territory trilogy for £7.99.