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Grace - A short story

I suppose I have been writing for most of my life; embarrassing diaries, copious notebooks littered with many a day of woe or wonder. In later years my writing became academic while I undertook my studies, prolific during my Masters, remaining a vital feature during my teaching career drafting lectures for my students.

One day a colleague jinxed me. “I’ll bet you could write me a song,” based on the fact that I could sing –big gap between the two in my book! Anyway, song lyrics flooded my brain and the creative journey began like a happy accident. Just before life got complicated, I took one more massive creative step and went to Drama school. My imagination was ignited. I drafted two novels and on the prompt of another friend I wrote a play, a one-woman show about bringing up a child with autism. I was awarded full Arts Council funding and put it on in Brighton to much acclaim, making the Breakthrough List for Stand-Out Female Performers in 2006.

The complication: my son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, went rapidly downhill under the pressures of secondary school, became ill and lost his hearing. The only choice was to give up everything and nurture him back into the world. Throughout this journey, writing has been my release, my freedom, my passion. With the mentorship of a BAFTA winning writer, I developed a screenplay which was read by producers at Channel 4, but no-one was buying autism that season. In 2008 I got married and with the support of my lovely husband I have been able to dedicate more time to my work. I am determined to succeed in something that gives me so much satisfaction and is flexible enough that I can meet my son’s needs as well.

My short story Grace was long listed in the Brit Writers Awards in 2010, and I had the pleasure of delivering a dramatized reading of that story to a hushed and latterley rather tearful audience at the Bridgwater Arts Centre Fringe event. Currently the plots and characters of two more novels are sitting on my bookshelf awaiting attention. One is in its infancy and another is undergoing a further draft. I am also working on a new play called ‘Wake’ which explores attitudes to death and the traditions around ‘passing’.

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