Trent Schools

April 26, 2024

“A gripping influencer thriller” is how Black & White Publishing is describing “Life of Zanna”.

After a fated meeting at university, the glamorous Zanna invited aspiring journalist Paige to write for her blog and social media channels as Zanna’s rise to influencer fame beckoned. Together, they lived the #dream, moving in together and making riches from Zanna’s online persona. But when Zanna tragically died, Paige reluctantly took over the Life of Zanna page – a ghostwriter emerging from behind the scenes.

A murder, lavish lifestyle and strange email ‘I know what you did’ – does someone have something to hide?

Living on the Upper East Side, working in downtown Manhattan in an office with a view of the Statue of Liberty Emily Jane Hodgkin (class of 2010), a journalist and digital editor living in New York and working as the Assistant Editor and Head of Lifestyle at the Daily Express US, is embarking on a new chapter in her career as she excitedly prepares for the publication of her debut novel ‘Life of Zanna’.

Emily’s literary accomplishment traces back to her school days, where her passion for storytelling was born “I especially remember my time in the English department, reading A Streetcar Named Desire with Mrs McNaught and reading Harold Pinter with Mr Dunford, both of which shaped my understanding of the world, my love of literature and my writing.”

Studying for a degree in Fashion Journalism at the University for the Creative Arts Emily discovered her passion for traditional news publishing, whilst undertaking work experience at local newspapers. Arming herself with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London, Emily took on two newspaper jobs; a day job at a London local and late shifts at the MailOnline, where she soon took on a full-time role.

Amidst the deadlines, Emily had a desire to stretch beyond the newsroom and so paused to explore and reflect: “After a year of working at the MailOnline, for the FEMAIL section, I took a three-month break to spend some time travelling in the US, after which I took a job as a Lifestyle Reporter at the Daily Express.”

After several years at the Daily Express and having worked her way up to Deputy Lifestyle Editor, Emily was offered the role of Assistant Editor on the Daily Express US, helping to lead the national newspaper’s expansion into America, and where she now holds the position of Assistant Editor & Head of Lifestyle.

Drawing on her career experiences, including Influencer Editor at, her various encounters throughout and the spirit and creativity formed in her during younger years, Emily began to pen the pages of her debut novel which is set to grace our bookshelves from Thursday 23 May 2024.

Reflecting on the journey that brought her to this point, Emily says: “I always look back on my time at Trent with fond feelings. It was a time full of fun and excitement as my friends and I – a handful of whom I’m still in touch with today – looked towards our futures and all the amazing things to come for us.

Teachers at Trent always imbued their pupils with the sincere belief they would be capable of achieving anything they turned their minds to, and I’ve felt the benefit of the confidence that gave me in my career and have no doubt it has played an important role in the journey that’s brought me to working as an editor in New York and publishing my debut novel.”

About ‘Life of Zanna’, Emily says: “The story of Paige and Zanna delves into the nuances of toxic female friendships, class, materialism, fame, and desire, as well as navigating our relationships with ourselves against this backdrop, wrangling with self-acceptance and accountability.

The minute I saw Paige and Zanna’s complicated friendship in my mind, I was compelled to get to know these intricate characters and follow their story through to the bitter end. I’m thrilled that now other people will get to meet them too, and enjoy exploring their messy, dark lives as much as I did” [The Bookseller].

Emily is set to return to Trent College amidst the excitement of her debut novel’s publication. During her visit she will talk to Sixth Form students about her illustrious career, offering insights into the life of a journalist, working in publishing both in London and New York and her road to becoming a published author. In the evening, Emily will attend a special book signing event hosted by the school, where she will share anecdotes of her career, reading passages from her novel and signing copies for guests attending. It will be an inspiring occasion for the whole school community, celebrating the success of one of our own.