Friday, December 18, 2009


Very happy to see our Denver SWWJ member, Elizabeth Wallace’s book CHRISTMAS PAST IN ESSEX is still selling very well – now in its third year - in all the Waterstone’s Bookshops that I’ve visited over the last few weeks. In fact, many of our Society members’ books are on display nationally as well as in their regional local bookshops.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It doesn't seem long ago that I was promoting this year's Essex Book Festival launched in March. Yet, within a week or so, the promotional brochures showcasing the Book Festival for 2010 will be available, free of charge. There is the most fantastic line-up of award-winning writers and personalities - something for absolutely everyone! Top names include Germaine Greer, former spin-doctor Alastair Campbell, BBC news presenter George Alagiah, top broadcaster and journalist, Francis Wheen, and poets Andrew Motion and Martin Newell.

They will be appearing at venues across the county as so many of our best-known authors, journalists and poets have over the eleven years that the Essex Book Festival has been running. It gets better every year and, as well as the most famous names known nationally and internationally, there will also be new and up-and-coming writers.

Also listed among the luminaries are my favourites, Margaret Drabble, Rose Tremain, Penelope Lively, Alexander McCall Smith, Mike Gayle, Joanne Harris, Barbara Erskine and Reggie Perrin creator David Nobbs. As ever, the Essex Book Festival will cover a huge range of themes, from history to health, and creative writing enthusiasts will be more than happy with the choice of programme. The box office opens on January 7th 2010. For more information visit or pick up a festival brochure from your local Essex library from the end of December.

This year I am again a Patron of the Festival along with Germaine Greer, Francis Wheen and Barbara Erskine. Press enquiries: Lorna Gott, Account Executive, Communications 07879 116381

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Sunday, December 13, 2009


It was so interesting listening this morning to one of England's most famous inventors on national Radio 4. Trevor Baylis OBE is a fascinating personality whom I met and interviewed a few years ago. He created the clockwork radio, among many ingenious patents and lives in that fascinating place, Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. A much sought after speaker, Trevor has some connection with our home town of Billericay and with the famous Rosaire circus, members of whom still live here and are our good friends. I used some of his early life experiences in one of my books BILLERICAY VOICES and he has reminisced about my friend, Joan Rosaire, in his autobiography. Nice picture of him here as a boy (pictured right) practising his circus skills.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Just a few pictures to remind some of our expat friends and former colleagues, of our time working in the Westminster offices. Looking forward to meeting some of you in February 2010. This image is by courtesy of Jason Hawkes and his fabulous photographic books

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Unfortunately just a little late for the Brentwood Writers’ Circle party yesterday, but when I finally did arrive, found that I had won first prize in the 2009 Nancy Meggs’ Annual writing competition. A lovely certificate, cheque and beautiful silver cup accompanied the good news. The theme was ‘entertainment’ and it was one of those topics that once you start thinking about it, you just can’t stop writing. Almost had another book on the go, but the stipulation was just a thousand words, so had to call a halt. Really enjoyed this exercise, though!


Yesterday paid a visit to the Brentwood branch of Waterstone’s. Already with an official book-signing of his own, I met author Eric Bartholomew whose two books make fascinating reading - will try to review asap. How on earth did he manage to produce two in the same year! Eric is soon off on his travels to Thailand and upon his return, we’ll hear of his adventures and maybe he’ll turn them into his third book? Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet another writer who is achieving great success in this rather difficult book-producing world.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE is coming to Ingatestone Hall on 11th and 12th December and once again, Myriad Productions are expecting a full house. Ingatestone Hall is such a gorgeous place and a perfect backdrop for this Christmas play with my favourite local actors, the talented Joanna O’Connor and James Kingdon, who always provide superb entertainment. Performances start at 7.30pm Tickets £12/£10 concs and Box Office: 01277 353010.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


This blog is with Carol and Barry Pardue in mind. Some may be interested in our little book-signing at the huge Waterstone's store with the lovely Jo at the Bull Ring bookshop in Birmingham over the weekend. Our first trip to this city and how big it is! Many of our SWWJ members live in the Midlands and can pick up their signed copies locally. I will be taking signed books with me for sale at the SWWJ Christmas party to be held at The New Cavendish near Marble Arch next week. Also book-signing in London today in Westminster.