"Let your hopes not your hurts shape your future"
Dr Robert H Schuller.



I was born in Newport South Wales in November 1944, just before the end of World War Two. I remember bombed out buildings, ration books, a dog named Monty who brought me back to the light from a dark and cruel Dickensian childrens' home and a grandfather who encouraged me to write.

I failed my eleven-plus and left school at fifteen with no qualifications, enduring the labels of 'failure' and 'stupid' for enough years for me to begin to believe it. (if you were made to feel a failure, begin today and dispel the myth) I have no university degree, university wasn't an option for me, and I am immensely proud of my working class roots and culture and the education that grew with my life. Since leaving school my working life has been varied and interesting, from being a petrol pump attendant, factory and shop work to hairdressing. Anything to keep me in lipstick, party frocks and hairspray for beehives. It all changed when I decided not to keep my writing as a secret desire.

My first novel 'Happy as a Dead Cat' was published by The Womens' Press in 1983. Happy as a Dead Cat, became part of a university syllabus for Womens' Studies and was in print for around 18 years. It was translated into several languages: German, Swedish and French. It was also serialised in an Icelandic womens' magazine. The initial letter I sent to The Womens' Press with my manuscript was re-produced in womens' magazines, which began:

"Dear Womens' Press,

Rumour has it you support working-class writers. Here's your chance to put your money where your mouth is . . . "

I will always have the greatest admiration for The Women's Press who supported unrepresented women writers of different cultures.

'Happy as a Dead Cat' remained at the top of the alternative best sellers for some time and was chosen by British librarians as one of a hundred books (along with Shakespeare and Dickens) to take into the new millennium. That put a smile on my face.

'You Can't Kill the Spirit' was published by The Womens' Press in 1986. A social history of the 1984 miners strike, which told the stories of a womens' support group during that time in South Wales.

In 1993, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently had a mastectomy. As a direct result of my cancer experience and the lack of psychological support for cancer patients in my area, I founded Positive Action on Cancer.