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MY STORY

 

I was brought up in rural Lancashire, overlooking Pendle Hill, and loved reading and writing from the start, English Literature always remaining my favourite subject. I went on to study English and the Theory of Education at Manchester College of Higher Education, always particularly enjoying poetry, and graduated in 1983 with Distinction.

 
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I left college not really knowing what I would do next, and took on a series of administrative jobs in Education. The last of these was as an Administrator at Nottingham Trent University in the Centre for Access and Continuing Education. In the early 1990s, I joined a writers’ group and began to take writing seriously, attending events and workshops and finding out all I could about the poetry world.

My first poem was published in a literary magazine in 1994, and I became active in entering competitions, submitting poems for publication and getting to know other writers. In 1999, my first poetry pamphlet was published. Over the years I have published five further collections of poetry and many of my poems have been commissioned, anthologised, performed and broadcast (see Poetry Publications).

In 2000, my administrative experience and interest in writing came together with a move into a year-long Poetry Project Co-ordinator post in Newark and Sherwood, after which I successfully applied for the post of Literature Development Officer for Nottingham City, which involved supporting writers and arranging and co-ordinating writer events and opportunities, including directing Nottingham’s Poetry in the City Festival for four years. I moved to Derbyshire during this time, and was then able to support Nottingham writers in my work life, while concentrating on becoming a Derbyshire writer in my other life. In 2005, I became Derbyshire Poet Laureate, a two-year post writing poetry to commission for Derbyshire, appearing at poetry events and activities, and working with a number of community organisations (see Commissioned Work).

I left the Literature Development Officer post in 2008, and for the next 10 years, worked as a freelance writer, creative writing tutor, mentor and coach, and Consultant in writing-related community work (see Community and Consultancy Work).

In 2009, I wrote the libretto for the oratorio More Glass Than Wall, and next ventured into playwriting (see Playwriting).

 
 

I have also written a childhood memoir, Trying to be Good, with the help of an Arts Council Writers’ Award.

I began to specialise in writing for wellbeing, first becoming Consultant to the Derbyshire Wellbeing Project, then undertaking other work improving mental health through writing, for which I was awarded an Honorary MLitt by Derby University in 2014.

 
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In 2019, I formed The Writer Highway, which brought all my facilitation and coaching work under one umbrella and provides a programme of writer support with individual wellbeing at its heart.

I continue to write and explore new avenues and personal writing projects.

If you would like to find out more, please contact me (see contact Cathy), and for details of my current activities, please see Latest News.