My Life as Reader and Writer


I started writing my first novel at age thirteen. It was written in a school exercise book with a fountain pen. Enid Blyton was my major influence at the time which was why I asked my sister to cut my hair short like the character George. George was in fact a girl called Georgina who wanted to do boys’ things. I also longed to go to boarding school. If I remember correctly my novel was abandoned half finished. Some years later Enid Blyton’s books fell out of favour only to be rediscovered later by a new generation of readers.

I read fiction avidly in my school and university years. University years were spent in Germany where I read a certain number of German classics. I returned to West Africa. Then came an extended period when the range of fiction in English was limited, not easy to find and books were very expensive.Television was in its infancy and was of no interest to me. So I read a lot of books both to myself and my children.

On relocating to England the emphasize of my reading became practical as I struggled to change direction on many levels.

I’ve now reached grandmother age and have returned to childrens’ books this time as an author. My book of childrens’ stories “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me” was published last year. Up until then I had never read about or taken courses on creative writing. I had simply gone ahead and written. But I did realize that there was room for considerable improvement. It was at this point that I came across the excellent e-mail and on-line creative writing courses run by Rob Parnell and Robyn Opie. Robyn is an extremely successful author of childrens’ books.

To my delight I found that I already used the inspirational New Age techniques recommended by Rob. Personally the most valuable parts of the course have been those dealing with editing and producing a publishable manuscript.

Both Rob and Robyn are friendly, approchable people keen to lend a helping hand and pass on their expertise. Course prices are very reasonable and the courses deliver all that is promised. Due to their influence my writing in the future will have improved.

In the mean time I go on reading, writing and learning.
Rob Parnell
Robyn Opie
5-4-2009 047


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