Between 1975 and 2012, Margaret’s publications comprised mainly articles, papers, training materials and books about communicating with children and young people in the context of social work, healthcare and education.
Since 2013, she has been exploring different forms of writing. Her play scripts are published online by Smith Scripts, and have been performed by several theatre companies, including Script in Hand (which she directs) and Talisman. Her short stories are included in a number of collections, including Arachne’s eighth anniversary anthology, and Solstice Shorts Festival 2020. Margaret’s first Fairlight story, ‘The Midwinter Marriage’, was published online in 2019 and included in The Fairlight Book of Short Stories: Volume 1 (2020). Other Fairlight stories are ‘A House of Music’ and ‘Jacko, Meggie and the Very Old Gran’ (both 2020). Her publications also include poetry, flash fiction and guest blogs, and she reviews children’s literature for a North American journal.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: George Eliot: I admire her courage, compassion, understanding and love, her ability to risk failure – every book is an experiment – her spirit in surviving ill health, rejection, bereavement and sadness, and her incomparable writing. I have written a play in her honour.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading, or having read to you as a child?
A: Copy-Kitten (1943, Helen and Alf Evers), bought in Bombay – a present from my father, serving in India during the war. I still have the book, which has plain cardboard covers decorated with a simple stuck-on picture, and is illustrated with drawings in black and yellow. There were many more books but this came to mind at once when I read this question. Contact with The Shannon Trust (which supports literacy in prisons) has led me to realise the privilege of being able to remember shelves full of books from my earliest childhood, when many adults have no access to reading or writing, and no memories of being read to.
Q: Who is your personal inspiration?
A: My husband, John.
If they knew we’d gone there, our grans would’ve tanned our hides for us. As they’d say. One of our mums had a brown leather bag she called ‘tan hide.’ Our mums were too busy, and too tired with work, to do more than yell at us. And our dads would’ve taken their belts to …
Miss Rosie Burns, 1960 Rosie Burns expected to be a famous pianist. She preferred sleek, black concert grand pianos, which showcased her petite prettiness and pearly arms. Much of her student grant was invested in hand creams. Her fair hair was pampered with camomile rinses. And she transformed curtaining remnants into swirling skirts and demure …
Three men asked me to marry them. I said yes to them all. Vernon March whisked me to the altar in the month which matched his name. His courtship had soothed me like a breeze, flattered me into a flutter. I wore a green gown with a wreath of violets and primroses. They wilted nearly …