Writers Series- Did you know that …? Part Four


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Hello there.

Welcome to the final part of the series. I have really enjoyed finding out a few more facts about some interesting writers. I hope that you have enjoyed the series too.

My first choice this week is a well-known figure who was not just a writer, but a poet, a theologian, and Christian apologist.  Graduating from Oxford, this academic was the writer of a series of children’s books called The Chronicles of Narnia.

Born in Belfast, Clive Staples Lewis – CS Lewis wrote the first of these books in 1950 called The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, whose main character (of the lion) called Aslan represents Jesus Christ.  This book with its strong Biblical theme is no different from many of Lewis’s other works which are very much faith-based.

The Chronicles of Narnia like some of his later work referring to his marriage to American Writer Joy Davidman have been made into films. For more about the life of this fascinating writer see http://www.biography.com/people/cs-lewis-9380969#synopsis.

Next on my list is a children’s writer. His most well-known works involve war and family relationships. An English writer of Private Peaceful and War Horse, Michael Morpurgo was the Children’s Laureate in 2003.  Although he writes for children, Morpurgo‘s appeal crosses all age ranges and backgrounds.  For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Morpurgo.

Morpurgo joins my list of writers in this series who have the ability to write in a way which is engaging and thought-provoking.  I have felt moved by their beautiful writing and portrayal on the big screen.

Last on my list is a female writer who was born in London to a Jamaican mother and an English father. Like Andrea Levy, this writer also drew on her background and upbringing to write a successful novel about multicultural Britain.  Winning several awards, this writer has a half-brother who is the rapper and comedian Doc Brown.  Zadie Smith, the writer of White Teeth met her husband, poet Nick Laird while they studied at Cambridge University.

Like some of the other writers on my list, Smith had her best-known novel made into a television series (for Channel Four in 2002).  Have a look at https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/zadie-smith for more about her life.

Thank you for joining me on this Writers Series which I hope that you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed researching.

The two things that I will take away from these writers is that you should never give up doing what you love, and you should surround yourself with like-minded people.

Take Care,




Writers Series – Did you know that…? Part Three

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Hi there.

Welcome to the third in a series of four posts about inspiring and interesting writers.

Let’s dive straight in. My first choice this week is an award-winning writer whose accolades include the Man Booker prize.   He has a Master’s degree in creative writing, is the writer of A Brief History of Seven killings, and was born in Jamaica. He is, of course, Marlon James.

According to http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/14/marlon-james-marley-murder-and-me, at the age of 33, James had 78 rejections for his work.   Like John Grisham, James joins a list of writers such as JK Rowling and James Joyce who also had their fair share of rejections.   JK Rowling has recently published her rejection letters on Twitter to encourage other writers. See this article for more http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/25/jk-rowling-harry-potter-posts-letters-of-rejection-on-twitter.

Next is a very different writer, poet, and novelist, who was born in India, but educated in England. His most well-known work has become one of the best-loved animated films of all times. The Jungle Book was written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894.  Kipling was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. See http://www.biography.com/people/rudyard-kipling-9365581 for more on his life. He is also the writer of the uplifting poem, If.  For the full poem, see http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_if.htm.

The last writer for this week is a female whose book Small Island was made into a BBC series in 2009 which starred Naomie Harris. Andrea Levy, a British author, born of Jamaican parents started writing in her thirties and was influenced by her parent’s experience of coming to Britain on Empire Windrush. See http://www.andrealevy.co.uk/author/ for more information.

These writers are a testament to the fact that neither age nor background should be a barrier to stop you achieving your dream. They have also demonstrated that they have persevered through rejections to become well-respected accomplished writers. The old saying that you learn more from failure than success seems to be true.

I hope that you can join me for the last of the Writers Series – Did you know that…? Part Four.

Take care





Writers Series – Did you know that…? Part Two



Hello there.

Welcome back!

So last week I mentioned some facts about high-profile writers. This week is no different as I continue along the same lines with more writers who I think are interesting and inspiring.

My first writer this week was so multi-talented that it is difficult to know where to begin to introduce him.  He was a film-maker, TV producer, and the multiple award-winning creator of the long-running American medical drama series ER.

Not sure?  Well, another clue is the Jurassic Park films?  Michael Crichton was the director of these popular dinosaur films.

Now this question that I am about to ask is aimed at those of a certain age.  Do you remember the frightening 1973 Science Fiction thriller called Westworld? Well, Crichton wrote and directed that too.  For more about his remarkable life and career see – http://www.michaelcrichton.com/.

Next on my list is a writer whose real name is Mary Ann Evans. As a writer and poet in the Victorian times, this English writer wrote under the pen name George Eliot.

As women writers were frowned upon at that time, Eliot wrote under a male pen name as this enabled her writing to be taken seriously. The writer of Middlemarch and Silas Marner died in 1880 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery in London.   For more information, have a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/eliot_george.shtml.

If you were unaware of where Eliot was born, just travel to Nuneaton in Warwickshire, where a hospital and school pay homage to her.

The last writer on my list is one of my favourite thriller writers. This American best-selling novelist has sold over 270 million books worldwide. John Grisham has had a number of his books made into movies, including The Pelican Brief, A Time to kill and The Firm. His career as a lawyer helped him to make the move into full-time writing when:

A case Grisham has been closely observing inspired him to start writing his first novel, A Time to Kill (1989).

Despite  Grisham‘s phenomenal success according to  http://www.famousauthors.org/john-grisham, he was:

 Rejected by 28 publishers, the book finally found an unknown publisher who agreed to publish a limited number of copies.

The lesson for us all, is to keep going. If you love what you do, you will get through!

See you next time for Writers Series Did you know that…? Part Three.

Take Care,





Writers Series – Did you know that…? Part One

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Hi there.

You may recall in a previous blog, I mentioned Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/.

Just to remind you, Goodreads is a really good website that allows readers to interact with their friends and review their favourite reads.

Having a look through Goodreads made me think about writers and how much we know about them. Of course, there are some whose lives are well documented through their writing and the media.

Over the next few weeks, I thought I would look at writers who I find interesting and inspiring and throw a few facts together about them.

No list would be complete without the writer of the autobiography I know why the caged bird sings – Maya Angelou, so I will start with her.

According to Buzzfeed (https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/50-facts-everyone-should-know-about-maya-angelou):

Over the course of her life, Angelou published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry.

Angelou was also the first African- American female member of the Directors Guild of America according to http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/04/us/maya-angelou-fast-facts/.

Next on my list is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author who wrote the powerful novel Half of a Yellow Sun.

According to http://answersafrica.com/captivating-but-lesser-known-facts-about-nigerian-novelist-chimamanda-adichie.html,  at the age of 19 Adichie gained a scholarship to study communications and political science at a university in the USA.

In a 2013 article for The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/19/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-stranger-fiction), Adichie mentioned writers like George Eliot, who she admired because:

the strength of their work is in the freedom, the unshackling, that fiction affords.

Now for a very well-known household name whose bestselling novels in the UK and America have been made into films and mini-series including A woman of substance.

Barbara Taylor Bradford attended the same nursery in Yorkshire as screenwriter and actor Alan Bennett according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Taylor_Bradford.

Taylor Bradford has sold over 88 million copies of her books worldwide in her long career. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10439832/Barbara-Taylor-Bradford-I-dont-believe-in-guilt…-I-like-myself.html)

I hope that you have enjoyed Part One, please join me in the next Writers Series – Did you know that…? Part Two.

Take Care,