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Thesis title: Debatable Lands: exploring the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction through family history
Start year: 2016
My research aims to challenge Virginia Woolf’s assertion that ‘Truth of fact and truth of fiction are incompatible’. It has two parts:
In my creative writing I intend to:
The dilemma for a life writer who claims to be composing a non-fiction narrative is remain faithful to what Woolf calls the ‘granite’ of the facts while allowing the ‘rainbow’ personality of the characters to shine through. In the critical commentary I intend to:
Life writing, creative non-fiction, narrative non-fiction, historical fiction, Victorians, maritime history, steam engines, women’s education
After teaching overseas I became a publisher of textbooks for teaching English to speakers of other languages and worked for Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. I was Director of Publishing and Communications at the national charity Directory of Social Change, and ended my career as Chief Executive of the charity Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action. I have been a trustee of national, regional and local charities, a volunteer mentor, and a school governor. I am still involved in voluntary work of various kinds.