About Myself

I was born in 1936 in North London, U.K. and grew up in Gourock on the West coast of Scotland, South London and Chichester, West Sussex. I studied English at London University and have lived in London ever since. I started writing stories, poems and plays as a child and from the age of nine I have been a compulsive writer. I married a computer consultant in 1963 and we have one son who also works in the computer industry.

After three years as a publicity assistant in an educational publishing firm I switched to teaching in a comprehensive school . The work was tough but in the main rewarding. When Ben was small I tutored adolescents and an adult with literacy problems. This made me interested in learning difficulties and after a time I started doing sessional work teaching communication and literacy to severely disabled adults in a day centre. I found this work demanding but stimulating. It gave me new perspectives on language and also allowed me time to write. I stayed at the centre for 25 years and had the experience of working with clients who were deaf, blind, brain damaged, severely limited in speech and movement because of cerebral palsy. Some of my clients were also emotionally disturbed.

  For several years I mainly wrote fiction and my first published book was a novel for children called Marigold's Monster (Heinemann 1976). This was followed by two novels for teenagers: If Only I could Walk and Will The Real Pete Roberts Stand Up. Towards the end of the Seventies I began to write more poetry and soon after my first collection of poetry was published in 1984 I knew I wanted to concentrate on writing poetry.

Apart from my eight collections of poetry I've had many poems published in newspapers and journals including:

  • The Observer
  • The Independent
  • New Statesman
  • London Magazine
  • Critical Quarterly
  • Rialto
  • The North
  • Quadrant (Australia).

My work has also been broadcast on

  • BBC Radio 4
  • Radio 2
  • BBC World Service


Interviews I've been interviewed with readings on Woman's Hour, Radio 4.
Other Publications My other main publication is Writing for Self-Discovery which I wrote with John Killick (Element Books 1998.) This had an immediate success and was reprinted after six months. It was also published in USA by Barnes and Noble 1998. I've also co-edited with Dilys Wood: Parents an anthology of poems by 114 women writers living in Britain about their own parents.

I've been running writing workshops and courses since 1988 and am currently a tutor for the Poetry School, London.

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