Inside and out

Dreary days, dark evenings, plenty of time to read and right. And as I sit at my computer, fairy lights flashing on Christmas trees, outside lights bright on the pavement, I realise that I don’t want to close the curtains and shut the world out. Ideas, the imagination live in my head but are fed […]

Collecting seeds

Nicotiana sylvestris – with a head of slim white trumpets, exuding a powerful and sophisticated scent, beloved of moths. Tall and elegant by day, with huge green leaves displaying it’s genus; by night an ethereal flower, perfuming the darkest hours. From the first gift of seeds twenty years ago I have sown, nurtured, protected, encouraged and […]

A Retrospective - Novel by Valerie Bird

‘A Retrospective’ giveaway

‘A fascinating novel, which was a compulsive read exploring a whole host of complex relationships.’ A story of obsession and redemption. 4.7 out of 5 stars On the anniversary of its release in the Apple iBookstore, I thought I’d celebrate with a giveaway. For a chance for you to win an iBook* copy retweet the tweet below […]

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 song 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 […]