I had the pleasure a couple of years back of reading with the poet Jean Sprackland and of taking part in a writers workshop she was leading. She set us an exercise to write something about our home towns, which gave me the chance to pull a bit of an ambush. I’d done my homework, and knew that, like me, she came from Burton on Trent. It was delight to watch the fact dawn, as I unfolded my description of those remembered breweries and their railways, and of the lazy black river, fishless in those days, winding through the water meadows.

We discovered that another thing we had shared, up until that moment, was that neither of us had met, or indeed even heard of any other writer coming from the town. I have never heard of a story set there either, save for one of my own. Last month though, I signed a contract with the Nottingham publishers, Pewter Rose Press, who have accepted my novella for publication, under the working title of A Penny Spitfire, set in 1947, in a thinly disguised version of the place. So, if all comes to fruition, maybe that will be another first too!

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