I am a writer, radio producer, composer and teacher who has written and produced extensively for the BBC in the UK.
As a staff producer for the BBC, I made many programmes that involved helping people tell stories from their lives before becoming freelance 12 years ago.
In my writing life I have written fourteen plays for BBC Radio 4, spent eighteen months as part of the Eastenders writing team and was the writer on the award winning drama-documentary series Monsters We Met for BBC2. I have also written the music and lyrics for four musicals commissioned by Theatre Royal Bath and continued to direct and produce drama and documentary programmes for BBC Radio, including Ivan and the dogs by Hattie Naylor, winner of the Tinnison Award for Best Radio Play of 2009.
Two of my most recent plays, You Drive Me Crazy and Home, have been radio memoirs.
I have given lectures and run writing workshops at universities across the UK, Europe and Canada. I have taught at Arvon and Ty Newydd residential writing centres and at literary festivals around the country. I have also been a lecturer in creative writing at Exeter University.
In 2000 my father contracted lung cancer. One day I visited him at Guy’s Hospital in London after he has undergone a major operation. As we sat together by a window and looked out across the City, he began to tell me about an episode of his life I knew nothing about. It was the late 1940’s and he had recently qualified as an engineer with a love of mechanics and a passion for inventing new machines. He spent 18 months in the City, employed by a Norwegian entrepreneur, designing a fabric printing press they hoped would revolutionise the clothing industry. As he spoke, it was as if his City came to life. I could see the bombsites, feel the thick London smog and sensed his frustration at the machine that never quite worked as he hoped. And that is when I realised how little I really knew about his life. He died soon afterwards and his stories died with him. He had never written them down. That’s when I began to write stories from my own life and became interested in learning how other people had written theirs.
In 2009 I was appointed Writer-In-Residence at Exeter University and in the next two years developed and taught life writing workshops across the South West UK and the Scilly Isles. Since then I have taken them across the UK and around the world.