Honest criticism

How fortunate I was to meet a group of women on a further education writing course, prior to my MA. We decided that our assessment of each others’ work was more valid and valuable than that of the tutor in the overcrowded evening sessions. The Monday Group we became; Henrietta Branford, a brilliant children’s writer, […]

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Hiding your light

I have had work published which means it’s been read and appreciated and considered good, more than good. But why do I find it so hard to say that I’m a writer? ‘Only little things’ I’ll say. I have all my children’s certificates, bygone letters and cards received, notices in newspapers of their achievements preserved […]

Here I am

Ordering review copies of ‘The Angel Child’ – always the excitement of seeing what is my invention, from my imagination, in book form. And yet I no longer own the characters; they are real and have been for a long time. The truth is that unless they become people in their own right early in […]

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Ragged robin

Bird’s foot trefoil, sweet cicely, shepherd’s-purse and vetch. Cow parsley or Queen Ann’s lace, hemlock, the poisonous witchy plant, wild carrot, angelica, all of umbrella form. Buttercup, forget-me-not, bitter cress, hogweed, groundsel and clover. All the flowers that haunt my memory of childhood walks. They sing the songĀ of our countryside, native or home grown.

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Coming out of the tunnel

The last two months spent marking English exam papers from around the world precludes any other creative thought processes. At times it’s inspiring to hear the young voices, idealistic, wanting a better place to live. Not just for themselves but for everyone. They speak of a world without borders and enemies, that technology must improve […]

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Drystone walls

If they could tell stories, those drystone walls, would we listen? Their purpose from the Iron Age through Medieval England to The Enclosures to keep,out and in, often questioned. Whose right, whose ownership, whose sheep? But of those men, and I have to say mainly men, I guess, what were their thoughts and feelings as […]

Where does it come from?

An image – sitting on a bench beside a stranger reading a book, and he commenting on the author, having read his books too; I think it was a William Boyd. That’s all – a brief meeting. Another moment – hearing the announcement ‘incident on the line’ – a train delayed. A feeling – the […]

The Condition Of Love

Can I describe the condition of love as of ‘barnacles attaching to a ship’s bottom’? This is not the grand falling of one enchanted evening with her or him across a crowded room. No, it’s that gradual accumulative effect of liking aspects of a person, the familiarity of friendship which can eventually lead to full […]

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My first attempt at a cover.

A cover for ‘The Angel Child’

Looking for a photographer or illustrator. All ready to go except for a front and back cover. How difficult to communicate your ideas and then not getting very far? A Chagall, images of fire, balloon, fair ground, flowers, lovers; it seemed so simple. My efforts at illustration are limited; excuses like working with child’s poster […]