P. M. Freestone writes SFF, often for young adults and the young at heart. Their debut duology began in 2019 with Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom and concluded in 2020 with Shadowscent: Crown of Smoke. They are now working on new projects.


P. M. Freestone writes fantasy, speculative and historical fiction. In 2019, their debut novel Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom was published in English by Scholastic, has so far been acquired in seven other languages, and was a finalist in the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Freestone’s short stories for adults and young people have appeared in various print and online venues. They are a Clarion Writers’ Workshop graduate, a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award winner, and hold degrees in archaeology, history, sociology and global health. Originally hailing from Australia, they now call Scotland home, where they lecture in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University.


P. M. Freestone (she/they) spent their formative years in Australia, then worked or studied on every continent except Antarctica (there’s still time). Their debut novel, Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom is a YA secondary-world fantasy published by Scholastic in the UK and US in 2019. It has so far been translated into seven other languages, was named Scottish Book Trust and DIVA Magazine Book of the Month, and was an Aurealis Awards finalist. The sequel, Shadowscent: Crown of Smoke, followed in 2020. The duology is set in a world were smell is queen of the senses, and there was even a perfume made in its honour by artisan London perfumery 4160Tuesdays!

A graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop (University of California), Freestone’s short stories of imagined pasts and potential futures have appeared in various print and online venues including the MG and YA anthologies Things a Map Won’t Show You and Where the Shoreline Used to Be (Penguin). In 2016, they were awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, in 2018 were selected as one of SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices, and in 2021 they served as a Scottish Book Trust Schools Writer in Residence, working with LGBT+ student groups at Kilmarnock Academy.

Neither of Freestone’s parents finished high school, but they instilled a love of libraries during their early years. Unabashedly nerdy ever since, they’ve collected a motley crew of university degrees, culminating in a PhD in infectious diseases and international development. Before they became a doctor of something philosophical, they worked in archaeology. This led to documenting long-abandoned villages beneath the stony gaze of Easter Island’s moai, wielding a machete through the Belizean rainforest to help map lost cities, and donning a lab coat in the UK to restore ancient Roman armor and treasures from Celtic burial hoards.

Though Feestone has set aside their trowel and theodolite, they remain intrigued with all things historical and speculative. These days, that curiosity is sated by work as a lecturer in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University, and as a writing consultant for universities around the world, where they get to hear about all sorts of amazing research: from cutting-edge genetics to little known Renaissance poets. The rest of the time, Freestone can be found gardening not far from Edinburgh, walking their rescued Romanian street dog, or tending their menagerie of NASA-approved houseplants. Oh, and they’ve only ever met one cheese they didn’t like.

Image credit: Josephine Teng