© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Barbara Olive Smith Founder and Life President of the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Born in Bristol in 1926, I was the youngest of six children. Growing up during the war years we survived the bombing, despite a direct hit on our house. After my marriage in 1948, I sailed from Dartmouth on a cargo ship to the Gold Coast to join my husband, an Agricultural Officer in the Colonial Service. We had three children over the ten-year period we lived there, during which, the colony struggled for independence and emerged as Ghana. In 1958 my husband was transferred to Mauritius and in April of 1960 we experienced the devastating cyclone “Carol” – the worst in the island’s history. The following year, my husband left the Colonial Service and we moved back to West Africa. We lived in Nigeria for the next eight years. It was a turbulent time culminating in the Biafran War which lasted two-and-a-half years. Then followed a period of short stays. First, we moved to Chemelil, in Kenya, then Mumias, also in Kenya. Surabaja, in Indonesia, was our next home for a year before my husband was posted to London. We continued to travel as his work took him to Papua New Guinea, Sri- Lanka, Brazil and the Philippines – wherever in the world that sugar is grown. After nearly forty years of a wonderful marriage I was widowed and had to start a new life. I attended courses on creative writing including novel writing courses at Brazier’s College, Ruskin College, Reading University and Oxford University Summer School.
In 1993 I met Dorothy Winters and Joyce Robinson while attending a creative writing course at Theale Green College of Further Education. When the course ended, we thought it likely that we would lose contact and not meet again. With this in mind, we convinced the principal of Wilson Adult Education College to let us hire a room one evening a week. From this, the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle was born. We arranged occasional workshops and guest speakers, and have been fortunate to have visits from Colin Dexter, Robert Harris, Mike Walker, Ann Schlee, Brian Stableford, Deborah Moggach, Lesley Wilson, Roisin McAuley and many other authors. Drawing on my life experiences, I have written two novels: Listen to the Drums, and Of Doubtful Loyalty, and many short stories which have been published in Writers' Magazine, New Writer, Yours, My Weekly and The Countryman. I have also won several awards for my short stories, poems and articles. I do not much like housework. I find it repetitive and boring. I do the dusting and as soon as my back is turned it comes back. A quick Hoover round if I’m expecting visitors seems perfectly acceptable. I’m not over- fond of spiders but I can live with them, provided they are not too big.
Created with Xara Designer Pro X
Barbara was the prime mover in getting our group started. This is her story, in her own words (more or less).
© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Barbara Olive Smith Founder and Life President of the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Born in Bristol in 1926, I was the youngest of six children. Growing up during the war years we survived the bombing, despite a direct hit on our house. After my marriage in 1948, I sailed from Dartmouth on a cargo ship to the Gold Coast to join my husband, an Agricultural Officer in the Colonial Service. We had three children over the ten-year period we lived there, during which, the colony struggled for independence and emerged as Ghana. In 1958 my husband was transferred to Mauritius and in April of 1960 we experienced the devastating cyclone “Carol” – the worst in the island’s history. The following year, my husband left the Colonial Service and we moved back to West Africa. We lived in Nigeria for the next eight years. It was a turbulent time culminating in the Biafran War which lasted two-and-a-half years. Then followed a period of short stays. First, we moved to Chemelil, in Kenya, then Mumias, also in Kenya. Surabaja, in Indonesia, was our next home for a year before my husband was posted to London. We continued to travel as his work took him to Papua New Guinea, Sri-Lanka, Brazil and the Philippines – wherever in the world that sugar is grown. After nearly forty years of a wonderful marriage I was widowed and had to start a new life. I attended courses on creative writing including novel writing courses at Brazier’s College, Ruskin College, Reading University and Oxford University Summer School.
In 1993 I met Dorothy Winters and Joyce Robinson while attending a creative writing course at Theale Green College of Further Education. When the course ended, we thought it likely that we would lose contact and not meet again. With this in mind, we convinced the principal of Wilson Adult Education College to let us hire a room one evening a week. From this, the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle was born. We arranged occasional workshops and guest speakers, and have been fortunate to have visits from Colin Dexter, Robert Harris, Mike Walker, Ann Schlee, Brian Stableford, Deborah Moggach, Lesley Wilson, Roisin McAuley and many other authors. Drawing on my life experiences, I have written two novels: Listen to the Drums, and Of Doubtful Loyalty, and many short stories which have been published in Writers' Magazine, New Writer, Yours, My Weekly and The Countryman. I have also won several awards for my short stories, poems and articles. I do not much like housework. I find it repetitive and boring. I do the dusting and as soon as my back is turned it comes back. A quick Hoover round if I’m expecting visitors seems perfectly acceptable. I’m not over-fond of spiders but I can live with them, provided they are not too big.
Created with Xara Designer Pro X
Barbara was the prime mover in getting our group started. This is her story, in her own words (more or less).
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Barbara
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Barbara