The writer’s journey – Writers Panel

Date(s) - 09/09/2018
12:00 pm

Neuadd y Dderwen


Panel discussion with Hilary Shepherd, Alison White and Diana Powell led by Brenda Squires

Hilary Shepherd is the author of Albi published by Honno. Her first novel: In a foreign country was also published by Honno.

Albi is nine years old when Franco’s soldiers arrive in the village and his life begins to change in confusing ways. It’s not clear quite who should be trusted and who should not. Some neighbours disappear not to be seen again, others are hidden from view in cellars and stables – like his brother, Manolo, who left long ago to join the resistance…

Diana Powell was the winner of the PENfro 2014 short-story prize, commended in the 2015 memoir competition, and short-listed for the 2016 first-chapter competition. These successes have given her a welcome belief in her writing, along with motivation to keep at it, culminating in her first book publication. We are delighted therefore to welcome Diana to the festival as a speaker. She is very much a ‘local’ author, living in Pembrokeshire, born and brought up in Llanelli, studying English in Aberystwyth University. Her first novella:  Who or what is Esther Bligh? came out in June. Writers have often been encouraged to ‘write about what you know’, whereas in her writing, particularly in this book, she wrote about much that was at odds with her own way of thinking.

Alison White is the author of the moving memoir: Letter to Louis

Letter to Louis by Alison White– the courage of care

Alison White’s admirable, beautifully written account of raising a child with cerebral palsy offers an essential insight into the lives of carers. There are many heartbreaking moments in this beautifully written book, but the first comes before it even begins. In a dedication to her son Louis, author Alison White says how she wanted to write it so that people would understand disability and caring, but also, “to be totally honest, I wanted to write something that would make people consider being Louis’s friend”. Beneath that simple plea lies the great fear of so many parents who nurse a severely disabled child through to adulthood: “What will happen when I’m gone?” It’s a measure of this unsentimental and clear-eyed account that White never labours this point, or any other of the myriad anxieties that accompany long-term caring. Instead, she just tells us what it’s like: and it is, in equal measure, admirable, uplifting, terrifying.

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