THANK YOU for visiting my website. You can freeze-frame any slide by holding your mouse arrow over it. To like my Facebook page or to follow me on social media, just click on the links under CONTACT INFO in the footer. Enjoy!

Thank You

When I finally retired from teaching in 2007, two pupils wrote poems for me. The English Department put them in a nice frame with a picture of me with my colleagues as a retirement present. It now hangs on my bedroom wall, and no doubt will until I die. I could want no better tribute.  Thank you Yours was the best sort of teaching: a reservoir of enthusiasm, a waterfall of eloquence, the fresh waters of sanity.   Thank you ... for your generous wit for your constantly open mind for your scholarship for your effortless command of language for...

Read More

“The Ritalin Orgy” MATTHEW DEXTER

The prose is purple, and the author – one hopes - the personification of poetic licence. It’s a story on speed: luxuriating in language as it exaggerates (please let it be a gross exaggeration) its depiction of life in a private school for the supposedly immensely privileged, viewed through the eyes of a young teacher sensitive to the sufferings and excesses brought about by a degenerate student lifestyle lived while acquiring an impressively academic education (that side of the school’s affairs is barely touched upon). The lifestyle enjoyed/endured during term time by a significant proportion of the boys and girls...

Read More

“Few Are Chosen” M. T. McGUIRE

This book is funny, shrewd and perceptive: an entertaining and satisfying read. The author had me from: “...the loaded gentry” (sentence 3).  Pithy observations came thick and fast: “Swamp Things were the only creatures that could punch as hard as Grongles.”  “Big Merv was bound to think he’d done it on purpose; nobody normal could be that stupid.”  “The Pan didn’t make a habit of retrospection.” Then there were the characters’ names: Sir Robin Get, the last of the great Nimmists, Frank the Knife (no relation to Mac), Ada the PR front of The Parrot and Screwdriver (The Pan of...

Read More

“Letting Go Into Perfect Love” GWEN PLANO

This is the often painful story of Gwen Plano’s relationships first with a husband whose sanity she thought she could save, and then with one who systematically abused her for twenty five years.  It is a beautifully written, articulate, intelligent analysis of what happened and why it happened, why she persevered with it for as long as she did, and how eventually she was able to rely on her own strengths to take her to a much better place, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Life had taught her to be a carer from an early age, and for carers, learning what...

Read More

JAN HAWKE

It’s my great pleasure to welcome accomplished writer JAN HAWKE to my blogspot. Jan is a very open and honest person, as I discovered as soon as I clicked on her Facebook page – http://on.fb.me/1Sy2MXI – liked it (please do the same if you haven’t already!) and was drawn to her blog: Jan Hawke INKorporated. I’ll let her explain it, because I think that like me you will feel you know something important about her, having read it. INKorporating? “So what’s behind the title – what does Jan Hawke INKorporate? Well of course it’s a play on a word which...

Read More

Formative Influences

I was brought up in the 1940s and 50s in a tough area called Bootle (it’s attached to Liverpool) by parents who wanted me to be a cut above the local kids with their heavy regional accent. They insisted I used the BBC vowel sounds we heard on the radio, and I was never allowed outside to play (I didn’t want to – I’d been assured the local ‘bucks’ were far too rough and ‘common’). My father was dictatorial and very strict: he hit hard, and terrified me. My mother was soft and kind, and no match for him. When...

Read More

From ‘Traditional’ Publishing to doing it yourself

I was published by Penguin in the 1970’s. I wrote six stories for children, to see if I could, sent them to Penguin and they published them! Things were a lot simpler in those days. The irony is that I didn’t know what I was doing, I had a very busy career in teaching (I was about to go on to be a deputy head and then a head of large High Schools in a very stressful social services area of London): so I promised myself I would try to write something seriously good when I eventually had time (which...

Read More

LESLEY HAYES

I am a great admirer of the work of LESLEY HAYES (sometimes known as Lesley Sky). I had an instant rapport with her writing, as indeed she had with mine: which made ideal ground for a reliable writerly friendship! When I recently decided to create this section of my blog, she was the first to spring to mind. Lesley Hayes was born in Deptford, in South East London, in 1948, and started writing almost as soon as she could talk. Her first story was published when she won a literary competition at the age of 13. Between 1966 and 1992...

Read More

JAN SIKES

My “work” as a writer involves me in reading and reviewing many books; and in so doing I get to ‘know’ their authors in a manner of speaking. We will probably never meet in person, but there is a meeting of minds: a recognition of the quality of each other’s work and an appreciation of the challenges and rewards of following this path we have chosen to follow. So a bit like Chaucer’s pilgrims, we tell each other stories along the way, and do our best to make each other’s journey more pleasurable. For that reason, it is my great...

Read More

JOY NWOSU LO-BAMIJOKO

I am delighted to be highlighting Joy’s work on my blogspot. I had the pleasure a little while ago of reading her book Mirror of our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women and I posted a five star review of it. Some stories have a power that resides in the story itself, regardless of the artistry with which it happens to be told. This is one such: a story that opens our eyes and hearts and broadens our minds. In an unsensational, matter-of-fact way, Dr Lo-Bamijoko describes the burdens carried by four different women born and raised according to Igbo...

Read More