Kathryn Halton graduated from the University College of Ripon and York St John in the early 1990s, with a BA Hons in English Literature and History. Her dissertation was a paper on the works of Jack Kerouac.
She started her working life as a librarian at a local college, before moving into local government.
‘I am: a wife, mother, school governor, football team secretary, eternal optimist;
I like: tea, gin, contemporary fiction about small-town American life (Kent Haruf and Richard Russo in particular), the Smiths, stationery, the beautiful countryside that surrounds my hometown, and Burnley FC;
I dislike: lateness, anchovies, intellectual snobbery.’
Kathryn wrote her first book aged nine, about a mouse who gets lost and eventually ends up floating down a river on the back of a swan. Her family loved it and told her to write more, so she’s been writing on and off ever since.
She is a member of Burnley and District Writers’ Circle (where Paul Abbott started his writing career), and loves the encouragement and constructive criticism of her fellow members. She received first place in their annual competition (judged externally) in 2016 in the Poem category, first place in the Monologue category and second place in the Short Story category.
She wrote about her job as a local government website co-ordinator for the Guardian’s Working Lives series.
Kathryn usually writes short stories, but has just finished her first YA novel, The Popularity Prevention Programme. It’s a novel about surviving the first year of high school and was inspired by her own teenage daughter’s experiences.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: My memories of early childhood are sketchy. But I remember my Nana giving me books every birthday and Christmas, inscribing them with messages of love. My favourites were Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Nana also gave me a copy of Little Women, which I read over and over, desperate to be just like Jo March when I grew up.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to and how many times have you read it?
A: I’m cheating, and choosing four – Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. They are my ‘desert island disc’ novels, which excite and inspire me every time I read them.
Q: Who is your personal inspiration?
A: Prince – he taught a teenage me that it was OK to be different. I’ve excelled at it ever since.
On Tuesday, Neil slaps Anna for leaving a knife unwashed in the kitchen sink. The stinging flat of his palm against her cheek is forceful enough to knock the back of her head against the gleaming cooker hood. Anna apologises. She mentally marks his assault as a four on her private scale from one to …
Winter snow deadens sound. Not the persistent ringing in my head though, the volume of which has gradually increased with age. That sound is always with me. My perverse comfort blanket. Today it accompanies me as I walk, alone, through the park. The grass lawn surrounding the duck pond lies like a soft baby’s blanket, …