5 minutes with… Lucy Hawking, Author

Lucy is the author of the Principia Mission Space Diary and the Mars Diary.

5 minutes with… Lucy Hawking, Author

Hi Lucy Hawking! What is your job – can you describe a typical day in your work life?

My job is to work with scientists, astronauts and technology experts to find ways to write about their work for a young audience. I do this through story telling – finding a way to weave an adventure story around their research or their experiences. It’s very fun and super cool – only sometimes it gets difficult to include as much information as I would like into a story line!

I don’t really have typical days – I do lots of events, festivals and schools visits as well as trips abroad. But if I’m at home, I try to write for as many hours as possible in the day! I’m great at distracting myself from work and have to stop myself from finding other ‘urgent’ tasks to get on with! But I love writing so once I’m at the computer, hours can pass without me really noticing.

How did you get into space science?

I got into space science when I started work on the first adventure novel for young readers that I wrote with my father, Stephen Hawking. Because I grew up in a very pro-science family, I already had lots of opportunity to engage with scientific topics. But writing about space made it come alive for me and I hope that Space Diary will do the same.

What interests did you have as a child?

I was very interested in natural history as a child and the environment. I’ve always loved reading – I was a book worm from a very early age. I also took part in loads of plays and musicals – I really enjoyed performing and still love going to the theatre to see shows.

If you weren’t an author what would you be?

If I wasn’t an author, I would be a journalist which was my first profession. In my fantasy world, if I wasn’t an author I would be an ice dancer!

How did you celebrate Tim Peake’s launch into space?

I was at the Science Museum with the rest of Space Diary team to watch the launch which was super exciting! There were hundreds of fans and the cheering when his space ship took nearly raised the root! It was a great day.

What advice would you give your eight-year-old self about building a career in space?

I would tell my 8 year old self something an astronaut said to me! He told me that the best advice is to work hard at school and do well in a range of subjects. The space industry needs people with lots of different skills, from maths to communication. He also told me that the best food to eat for breakfast before travelling into space is a banana!

Log in or sign up to the Discovery Diaries website to download your own copy of the Space Diary along with teaching notes and resources. 

The Principia Mission Space Diary is one of nine education projects funded by the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency, to support the education aims of Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station. Find out more about the Principia education projects here.

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