The Life and Times of a busy bookseller, her husband and Gordon setter dogs in North Norfolk.

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Born In Essex, UK.
School in Luton.
College - Sussex.
Worked in Cambs.
Now Living in Norfolk.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

One of the benefits of being a bookseller is that we sell books to all sorts of interesting people - some of which often include book authors.  I mentioned before I sold books to Ronald Searle, well this time I write about selling a book to one of 'our' children's authors family - Kathleen O'Farrells daughter, Annie.  Whilst 'chatting' Annie said that she thought her mum would be happy to write a bit about her life for us (Peakirk Books) to put on our website - which we have, and I thought I would put it on our blog too.  Thus below, is the piece she wrote for us, last april.

Kathleen O'Farrell - Children's Book Author

The following was written by Kathleen in April 2011 for Peakirk Books.

I was born in 1924 in a village in Surrey. I started writing poetry while at school, then went on to write children's books in my twenties, while working in a city bank. My dear dad paid £5.00 for my first book of children's poetry 'Little Poems for Little People' to be published when I was a schoolgirl in wartime.

After I married I wrote more and more. Having six children provided plenty of inspiration! I still loved, and continued to write poetry and eventually went on to submit short stories to magazines including 'The Lady', 'Peoples Friend', 'My weekly' and 'Grace'. Very many stories and Poems have been published in these magazines, also in various gift books and annuals such as The Fireside Book and similar.

Many of my children's books were translated into several foreign languages and my poems have been reprinted as far away as New Zealand.

I am still writing, though output is not as much now and I will carry on as long as I can hold a pen. I have always written in long-hand before transferring onto a typewriter and have never used a computer.

I am unable to think of a more delightful hobby, or source of income, than writing. Through my work I have accumulated numerous pen-friends over the years, many with their own interesting tales to tell. Many of my stories and poems are based on fact, gleaned from people I've met, perhaps for only a little while but who have made a lasting impression on me.

In total I have had 15 children's books published and 3 books of poetry together with hundreds of poems and short stories for other publications.

My passions in life have always been my writing, my family, including my many grand-children and my pets. My daughter recently told me that I see beauty in everything around me and I would like to think that is true.

Kathleen O'Farrell - 2011

We would like to thank Kathleen O'Farrell and her daughter Annie for taking the time to prepare and write the above for our website.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

.....and yet another literary death - I suppose it is the heart of winter, and more older people die in winter, or so it seems. I heard last night on the radio that Reginald Hill had died, and very selfishly thought, oh dear - no more books to read by him then - which was both egocentric, but yet a tribute to the man who was still producing very good crime fiction. I shall miss his books, as will his many readers. No doubt his family and friends will miss him.

Hill was best known for his crime novels about Dalziel and Pascoe, and he wrote a further smaller humorous series set in Luton, featuring the private detective Joe Sixsmith.  He won  the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger award, for Bones and Silence in 1990 and received the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement five years later. However he produced more work than this - he wrote historical novels and standalone thrillers, and wrote further books under the pseudonyms of Patrick Ruell & Charles Underhill.
Reginald Hill was a talented writer, and wrote with humour and popular appeal.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ronald Searle

It was with some sadness that I heard today of the death of Ronald Seale, the brilliant cartoonist, famously associated with St Trinians and who also provided illustrations for the Molesworth series, written by Geoffrey Willans. Searle's work also regularly appeared in magazines and newspapers, including Punch and The New Yorker. His work was award winning.

Only a couple of days ago Jeff & I chortled over a St Trinians film during the Christmas holidays, and were discussing Ronald Searle.  A year or so ago he became a customer of mine for a short while, when he was looking for some abbey school titles for a friend of his in France. When I saw his French address, I had to ask if he was THE Ronald Searle, and he told me that indeed he was, and was friendly and chatty.  I was impressed that a man of his age was not phased by using the internet (and really not surprised that a man such as he would be), and it was a pleasure to get the books. I am honoured that just for the briefest of time our lives touched. RIP.