Hazel's Writing

Hazel has written two novels. Her debut, ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER is inspired by music and the countryside. Her second book AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK TITLE) or HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (USA title) is inspired by the wonderful go-for-it attitude of the older generation, concerns for our planet and, of course, penguins! 


AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS is a Christmas Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick as well! 


Both Hazel's books are published in several countries around the world. The UK and US publishers are Transworld and Berkley, of the marvellous Penguin Random House group. 




otherwise known as 



Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea, perhaps with a ginger thin on the side. She enjoys watching a good wildlife documentary. She is never seen without her ruby-red lipstick. Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because at eighty-five her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found collecting litter from the beach (‘People who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’), and shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).


Veronica doesn't have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway... And she has no idea where she's going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.  


But today... today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this...


A warm, witty, inspiring story of late-life discovery which asks the powerful question: Is it ever too late to change our world?

"This year's Eleanor Oliphant . . . Funny, bittersweet and wholly original."

~ Daily Express

"I love this gorgeous book. Unflinching, stubborn, funny and moving, Veronica is an unlikely heroine who will sneak in and capture your heart"

~ Trisha Ashley, Sunday Times bestselling author


"A glorious, life-affirming story. I read it in a day. I’m going to buy it for so many people this year!"

~ Clare Mackintosh, Sunday Times bestselling author

“A warm and witty journey of self-discovery.”

~ Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author


"A beautiful expedition into Antarctica, but more importantly, the human heart."

~ Brooke Fossey, author

"A touching, uplifting tale"

~ Jo Whiley, Radio 2 Book Club

"A work of art, written in a prose so fluent that it all but reads itself to you."

~ Robert Hillman, author 

The book can be ordered in the UK here and in the US here


Photo taken at Living Coasts in Torquay with Yoyo the penguin (copyright Living Coasts)

AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS interview at BrenHazel & Lionel
00:00 / 10:45

Listen to Hazel discussing

AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS with Lionel Ward of Brendon Books on 19.03.20 here:




MEET ELLIE. She’s perfectly happy with her home and her husband and her quiet life. Happy enough, anyway. Which is why she’s so surprised to find herself drawn to an extraordinary stranger who gives her a gift – and a fresh perspective.

MEET DAN. He thinks that all he needs is the time and space to carry on making harps in his isolated barn on the moor. But the last thing he expects is for Ellie to whirl into his life, bringing a string of surprises to his ordered existence.

Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to discover what your life can be . . .

elliepromo2 copy.png

This heart-warming, funny and quirky love story

features . . .

86 plums

69 sandwiches

27 birch trees

a 17-step staircase

a pair of cherry-coloured socks

and a pheasant named Phineas 

“Prior’s lyricism feels like a warm song.”

~ The Washington Post


“How I loved this book! An uncommonly lovely story told with elegance, insight, and so much heart. Hazel Prior's brilliant debut will delight."

~Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author.


"Wow, what a love story. Ellie and The Harp Maker is uplifting and full of heart, and I couldn't put it down!"

~Jo Thomas, author.


"Hazel Prior’s writing is a lyrical delight.” 

~Phaedra Patrick, international bestselling author..

"A melodious and heartwarming debut about love, friendship, and a secret that could change everything. This one is special.”

~Emily Liebert, USA Today bestselling author.

Buy ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER here (UK) and here (US)

Book Club kits are available for both Hazel's books.

Take a look here for ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER


Teaching Writing and Talks


Hazel gives workshops full of practical tips for budding writers.

She is also becoming known for her quirky talks with readings and harp accompaniment. Sometimes she might even be persuaded to sing her song about penguins, 'WADDLING ON' or her song in praise of books:


Most of Hazel's tweets are about writing. To follow her on Twitter, please click here.

She has recently joined Instagram with the handle @HazelPriorBooks.

You can also follow her on Goodreads here.

  • Twitter Social Icon