This column will be about books and writing.

I won’t be able to do full reviews of newly published novels or life stories but I will be able to mention local authors and events which showcase writers such as the ones run at Sidmouth Library.

I want to share my love of reading and putting pen to paper or switching on the laptop to write for myself.

Books are my passion and have been for as long as I can remember.

I have been a reader since primary school. The local library, where I grew up in Cardiff, was my second home and I remember getting my first library tickets when I was six or seven.

My parents weren’t big readers but as an only child I found companionship in the pages of a book.

On birthdays and at Christmas I received a regular selection of the classics like Dickens through an edition called the Olive Classics ( faux leather with dark green covers) and I began to collect these and arrange them on my bedroom window. Not a great idea as they faded with the sunlight.

Even as a young person my reading tastes were fairly wide and, although Enid Blyton was in the mix, I can’t say she really was my first choice each time I browsed the shelves in a bookshop.

I loved English Literature at secondary school and enjoyed writing. Years later as a mature student I attended an adult residential college where I was influenced by an inspiring tutor who was a real champion of poetry and literature.

I went on to  do an English Literature degree and, post retirement, I completed Exeter University’s MA in Creative Writing where I met fellow students of all ages from their twenties up to their 70s. That was a rich experience in itself.

I write sometimes and have had a few things published and co-created a play at Sidmouth’s Sea Fest back in 2019. I have been writing a memoir set to a Dusty Springfield song track and have novel that I want to finish.

Reading and writing have got me through difficult times like those long Covid lockdowns.

It felt at times like we were all living in one of those sci-fi or dystopian novels where society has been turned on its head.

When I couldn’t meet people in real life, due to restrictions, I found them in the characters in a novel. Fiction meant I could feed my imagination, while the world was put on hold, and escape into different ‘realities’.

Over the last eighteen months I have been running Open Mics or Spoken Word events with occasional workshops to support local writers.

I recently set up a community organisation called Word Kitchen with a friend Pippa Marriott running free events where writers can come and read their work in front of a supportive audience. More information can be found at  

At the moment these run quarterly in Budleigh Salterton, attracting people from different parts of Devon and we are planning to bring them to Sidmouth as soon as we can.

As I said at the beginning of this column I will feature local writers, bring news about events like author talks, highlight the activities of  local book and writing groups, and tell you a bit more about what I have been reading.