John Young
cover image for The Farewell Tour of the Terminal Optimist
cover image for The Farewell Tour of the Terminal Optimist

John Young Author

John Young author

John Young is a writer who is originally from Belfast and lives in Edinburgh. A former lawyer, he helped to found The Teapot Trust, a children's art therapy charity, with his wife Laura. He was a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award winner in 2013.

Press Articles

Boswell Book Festival 15th June 2021

The John Toal Show 6th April 2019

Daily Record December 2017 - The future's write

Belfast Telegraph Article - "Verity loved mischief... her diagnosis and death was a real shock, completely devastating - it changed how I think about everything"

ScotLitFest Virtual Book Festival - "Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist - A Chat with John Young"

Evening Times Article - "Dad writes bold new novel based on stories he wrote before cancer-stricken daughter passed away"

ScotLitFest Virtual Book Festival - "Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist - A Chat with John Young"

Bookwitch Review - "Bookwitch Review 18th September 2017"

The John Toal Show Interview with John Young - "John Young talks about the Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist"

Review of the Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by Books Over Humans - "Books Over Humans Review"

Review of the Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by Lisa Talks About.. - "Lisa Talks About... Review"

The Reader's Corner -YA Month - John Young "John Young talks about Young Adult Literature"

Little Blog of Library Treasures "Book Review of the Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist"

Farewell Tour long-listed as one of 20 finalists for the Brandford Boase Award

Runner up in Cheshire Schools Book awards - 
Shortlisted for the Southern Schools Book Awards
Long listed for Bramford Boase Award

Announcement Scottish Teenage Book Prize Winner

Brilliant Scottish Book Trust video trailer winner Sophie McIntosh from St Joseph's Academy Ayrshire

Winner Scottish Teenage Book Prize  -





Ups and Downs

I wrote the attached short story after my daughter Verity died in 2009. I was encouraged to publish it as shared experiences help others. I didn’t try, because the story was too close, painful and raw. Instead it became a seed for Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

Terminal Optimist recounts friendship between bully (Skeates) and his victim (Connor) as they run away from Stornaway to Shotts to discover why Connor’s dad spent the past seven years in prison. What act could be so vile that his Mum had to kept it a secret? There’s nothing like withholding information to fire a lad’s determination so he drops everything including his cancer medication to go on this quest. The answer blows that friendship apart then tests its strength as they fight off thugs and the Grim Reaper. It’s an uplifting story but, like life, Connor has his fair share of challenges. 

The greatest writing hurdle was to find humour in pain whilst retaining emotion so that anyone experiencing similar feelings might find solace. Creativity helped me but the journey was not without agonies. Writing brings escape but it also exposes emotions and when someone reads any narrative it becomes their own and they’ll never understand it the way you do. That’s the beauty of script and the beast. 

I feel it is time to return to the roots of the story and here it is as a sort of book obituary. It’s written backwards to preserve the happiest of memories, in two voices, Verity’s and mine.


The Black Bag

Happy go lucky Harry Soul has his future prosperity hidden in a black bag but The Macadam thugs are after it. When Harry is kidnapped by Macadam’s enforcer, war vet Arthur Munro, and interrogated by Macadam, his life is ripped apart. After fourteen years of blaming Arthur for this misfortune he’s given the opportunity for revenge, but although Munro is the one suffering from Alzheimer’s it’s Harry who should be questioning his own memories in this story that warns of the dangers of recollections and revenge.


The Terrible Truth About Robins and Ravens

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT ROBINS AND RAVENS is a darkly amusing mix of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, meets End Of The F*cking World. It’s a horror love story, from the point of view of the horror, a tale of identity, love, empathy, power, addiction and existing as a mind in the wrong body. 


Jimmy hates what he is, a loner pecking at corpses in the morgue to keep his dangerous cravings at bay. Until he meets Marisa, who loves her condition and views her uncontrollable cannibalism as a calling to rid the world of evil people. When their exuberant cannibalistic vigilante spree goes wrong they discover that one person’s bad is another person’s good. Jimmy just wants to be his old self, and be with his first love Rachel, but can he work out how to do that, before it’s too late?


Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

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Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

Quick witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won't take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He's been dying for years, but he's not dead yet. He's going down fighting.

Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy route across Scotland to find Connor's dad, an inmate at Shotts prison. But Connor's left two things behind - the medication he needs to keep him alive, and the girl who makes living bearable.

Dodging the police, joy riding and extreme partying - if Connor's dying, he might as well enjoy one last wild adventure.

Visit the website!


The Two Faced Gift Horse

The Two Faced Gift Horse 

A young woman’s life is threatened when she investigates an inheritance that endangers islander’s economic security and independence.

It is set in a remote island off the west of coast of Ireland, the location being essential to the plot, the crimes and the family history that ties them together. The island has been owned, to the angst of the islanders, by an English family for generations. A revolution was afoot until Eryn, a medical student, who was orphaned aged four, arrives with a claim to title. Her goals change when her life is threatened as she deprives islanders of their expectations and uncovers a twenty year old triple murder.

As young lawyer I used to joke to clients that you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth because gift horses have two faces. Eryn’s legacy in The Two Faced Gift Horse is enormous and, because she prevents Lynch, the man who killed her family from taking everything, risks the ultimate cost. 



Sandy the Starfish

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Sandy the Starfish

Colourfully illustrated using cartoons, this interactive lift flap book is a must have for anyone with a child under 6 who is having injections and boosters.

The Success of Failure

A short story by John Young about Swimming the English Channel

Hidden (Sometimes you are better off not knowing)

Any number of people had reason to assault Harry Bains but his seventeen year old step son Lorn McGregor is the one in custody, and he needs to get out.

Lorn is helped by school librarian, Nadia, and his friends, to cope with bullying at school and the horrors of his abusive step dad, Harry Bains. An attack on Bains exposes Nadia’s own nefarious background (she was a Russian assassin) and Lorn knows a way to help her and redeem himself but is stuck inside a police station. Think, Killing Eve mixed with Grange Hill.


Blog and Tweets

Latest Blog: Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist shortlisted for the Cheshire Schools Book Awards!

27th November 2017

Cheshire Schools Book Awards 2018

Not only is Farewell Tour of Terminal Optimist on the shortlist for Cheshire Schools Book Awards - it is off for a reprint already!

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