I was born and raised in the West Country, an area still close to my heart. I won a scholarship to read English Literature at Oxford and went on to work as a lobbyist, both in the UK and the USA. Somewhat disillusioned with the political process, I returned to England where I re-trained as a teacher and have since led education provision for vulnerable and excluded young people in a wide range of settings, including Pupil Referral Units, the Tavistock and Portman Trust and in-patient adolescent mental health provision. I am a passionate believer in the therapeutic power of learning.
From a very young age, I was always writing, but I did not seek publication until later in life when I plucked up the courage to join an Adult Education evening class in Creative Writing and was given the confidence by my tutors Jane Draycott and Jenny Lewis to submit poetry and short stories to various competitions.
Following success in the Asham Award, Bristol Short Story Prize and various poetry anthologies, Cinnamon Press published Rooms of the Mind, a novella and collection of short stories. I began to think of myself as a writer.
Much of my writing draws not only on my own life story, but also from my work and the poems which were included in the BAAF Anthology of Writing by Adopted Adults – Chosen – were no exception.
Similarly, the acclaimed Paddy’s Story, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and the series Summer Report which I was commissioned to write, both brought to life the challenges overcome by some of the extraordinary young people who I have been privileged to know.
Later, I went to on to gain a Masters in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes, with distinction. The Well won The Lucy Cavendish Prize and when it was published, I was noted as ‘An Observer New Face of Fiction’, a Huffington Post ‘One to Watch’ and an Amazon Rising Star. Having published my second novel, The Half Sister, my attention has been drawn back to poetry and to completing my memoire. Telling Stories is a multi-genre narrative non-fiction text which tells my own adoption story combined with professional reflections and observations. You can follow the progress of Telling Stories towards publication, what I am reading and the new work I am developing here.
I am still involved with work in the adoption and fostering arenas and have also recently been teaching Creative Writing as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Worcester. But perhaps the biggest influence on my writing now is the landscape. I live in the middle of nowhere and spend a disproportionate amount of my life walking, thinking and getting very wet.