Sarah Margaret Batten was born in Northern Ireland and grew up primarily in Yorkshire before moving to London for university. She has always had a fascination in older things, things weathered through time, by experience and history. She has a Masters in Cultural Heritage and has worked in some of London’s best smaller museums including the Freud Museum, Cartoon Museum and Garden Museum. Sarah now lives in Erith where she runs – with her husband – a community organisation that focuses on local craft and empowerment.
Sarah is new to writing having recently completed a Beginners Fiction course with the Faber Academy. But, she always felt that this was something she should do; for her, writing is a way of understanding, a way to figure things out, or to conclude that things are rarely figured out.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: There are probably quite a few, but I’m going to say William Morris. Running an Arts & Crafts organisation that has socialism at its heart, I think I could hold a conversation with him without getting too intimidated, as well as learn something and maybe challenge a few bits of his own thinking.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: I’m not sure it’s a favourite, but it came up at the weekend. ‘She’s a full-on Monet’ from Clueless, 1995. There is a lot to unpick from that little phrase.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: Persuasion. I have had no idea how many times I have read it, but that letter!
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: I’m a bit of an insomniac. I would like to be either a high-functioning insomniac or be able to sleep anywhere, anywhen.
He must have received the letter on Tuesday – perhaps Wednesday, but most likely Tuesday. He wouldn’t have gone down to collect the post immediately; he would have seen the postman arrive from the upstairs study window, registered an arrival of correspondence, but continued at his desk, the same desk he has been sitting at …