An author who lives near Andover is awaiting the publication of his second novel, having completed a BA in Creative Writing at the University of Winchester.

Faze - Journey to the Core will be the second in a planned trilogy of fantasy horror novels by Martin White set in a dystopian world where the population must take a drug, the faze of the title, or die.

Martin, who writes under the name of MJ White, began his journey through academia at evening classes and then at Andover College, where he gained a Grade A for his Extended Project Qualification in Creative Writing impressing his teachers.

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Martin said: "My tutor said I had to apply for university.  I didn’t think I could because I had no other qualifications apart from the EPQ."

However, Martin was accepted on the strength of his submitted work and last year he graduated with a First, picking up the University's 2023 Fiction Prize in the process, now he’s halfway through his Masters in Creative Writing at the University.

Andover Advertiser: Martin White with his first novelMartin White with his first novel (Image: University of Winchester)

Martin, from Abbotts Ann, said: "As someone who never engaged with school, I have to pinch myself when I think I am now a master’s student.

“I love university. I love Winchester and I’ve made several friends for life here.”

Now 48, Martin, who was born and brought up in the Southampton area, left school at 15 and fell into catering, working for 20 years as a chef, but said he has no plans to return to the industry.

Martin penned the first in the Faze series, The City of Addicts, in 2020, before he began his BA but revised and republished it two years later, feeling that his writing had improved thanks to his studies.

He has several other projects underway, with his Fiction Prize-winning short story, The Society of Inverted Gentlemen has been turned into a screenplay by former Winchester student Nancy Taylor and submitted to the BBC.

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More recently Martin has produced an online anthology of writing, stories, poems, photography, and artwork called Just Breathe.

The collection focuses on what makes people happy and is made up of submissions from members of the public who attended workshops run by Martin at Andover College and Chapel Arts Studios. Contributors include Nancy Taylor and Casey Brown, a fellow Winchester Creative Writing MA student.

Programme leader BA Creative Writing at the University of Winchester, Dr Vanessa Harbour, said: “Martin was an excellent student. He was determined to make a difference not just for himself but those around him, He supported and encouraged all his peers. 

"Within classes, he was always engaged, pushing himself to achieve his best. Looking for opportunities to help others and improve his writing.

“This community project is a prime example of how he likes to help others. Martin is very driven but also empathetic. I am sure he is going to go far.”