I have lived in Leicester since my undergraduate days in the early 1990s, and reside there with my family, which includes three dogs.
Hunter (on the left) is a lurcher, so here he is engaging in his favourite pastime of lying around in comfort. Jessie (centre) is an old lady, but she’s a terrier cross, so she is unaware of this. In this pic, she has just won two rosettes at our local Dogs Trust Fun Day – for catching sausages and playing Musical Sit (like Musical Statues). Shadow (right) is the baby – he’s six now, but none of us actually recognise this fact. He’s a big goon, and we all baby him.
I, like you (I assume) love books. I’ve loved books since I was a tiny child and books offered me a safe place to escape to. Not that I had a particularly terrible life, just an anxious and ‘in my head’ kind of a one, which meant that other kids weren’t always keen to be around me…
Loving books led me to be interested in words – their sounds, their meanings, their feel in my head and in my mouth, their relations to each other. I always enjoyed writing as well as reading, but used to think that writing wasn’t for folk like me. I took A levels in Language subjects and went to university to study Modern Languages, and then Gender and Literature, and then I became a teacher – mostly of English Language.
I’ve taught A Level English Language (and the combined Lang/Lit), GCSE English (particularly to resitting and struggling students). I was very sad to see the end of the Creative Writing A Level. In teaching, I’ve worked mostly in colleges and a little bit in schools, and started out in Adult and Community Education teaching evening classes in French and Italian conversation (but don’t ask me to do that now – my languages are really out of date!). I’ve also taught some History (as part of Women’s Studies), Citizenship and General Studies. Having had really varied teaching experiences has allowed me to take a broad view of many of the changes I have seen in Education over my career. I have also been fortunate to be involved in teacher training, both initial and CPD, through specific employers and exam board experience.
I remain interested in gender studies, the intersections our identities take, and the effects these have on our lives. This interest began as a working-class woman, and has deepened over time. I am now working part-time towards a PhD in a School of Education, exploring YA Literature and its representational possibilities.
I have been lucky enough to work on textbooks and study guides for English A Level and GCSE for over a decade now, also contributing to online resources and materials for overseas curricula. As well as this writing, which I see as an offshoot of my professional work, I write fiction in my (admittedly limited) spare time.