....and how this site works
Hi! Welcome to my website.
This is my way of sharing all the various things I do with anybody who’s interested. As someone who has worked right across the media, I ‘meet’ the widest range of people through my books for adults and children, journalism and broadcasting. And I love it – especially my latest metamorphosis into an advice columnist, first for The Times and now for the Daily Mail on Saturdays. Believe me, there’s no complacency when I say I am blessed with a terrific life. It hasn’t all been easy. But I guess nobody’s life is…and why should it be?
Anyway, if you are reading this as a young fan of my best selling ‘Kitty and Friends’ series, or are interested in my new series of ‘Bonnie’ books, then you might like to straight to the yellow tab, ‘Younger Readers.’ Or you might like to join my readers of all ages in finding out a little more about this person behind the words. This section will also explain how the website works. I hope you will enjoy browsing through the whole site.
I was born in Liverpool in 1946, where home was a flat in a low-rise estate called The Green, on Queen’s Drive, near Broadgreen Hospital, where I was born. I went to Northway Primary School and then passed the 11+ to go to Aigburth Vale Girls’ High School. This was old-fashioned state education and it served me very well indeed.
Then when I was 14 my world was turned upside down by a move to the South-West of England, to Trowbridge in Wiltshire. That’s when my beloved, hardworking parents obtained their first mortgage, on a three bed-roomed semi. It was such a step up in the world! I went to the local girls’ grammar school and tried to learn a new accent, in order to fit in. It wasn’t easy. But maybe writers should never really fit in…
When I left school I went to University College London, and in 1969 gained a first class honours degree in English Language and Literature. In 1968 I married my first husband, the broadcaster and writer Jonathan Dimbleby. We met in our second year (he was a philosophy student) and married in a whirlwind after knowing each other just four months. Our marriage was a real meeting of minds and was to last for 35 years, until 2003. Jonathan is one of the best, most wonderful people I have ever met. Still.
When I graduated I expected to go back to Uni and do a PhD as invited by my department, but I was seduced down the primrose path of journalism, and have never regretted not writing that thesis on Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Anyway, I am now a Fellow of UCL and hold honorary degrees from Bath University and Liverpool John Moores – so, if I wanted, could dip my toe into university life once more.
My first job was on the now-legendary magazine NOVA, which was very exciting, as it used some of the best writers, photographers and designers around. I was Assistant to the Editor, then a feature writer, then contributing editor. After that I had a contract with the Telegraph Magazine, contributed to the Sunday Times, Guardian etc, and was a regular with the New Statesman, under the inspiring editorship of Anthony Howard. Later still I wrote columns variously in the Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, the Listener and the Daily Mirror.
In 1974 Jonathan and I had Daniel, then in 1975 our second son Tom was stillborn, and in 1980 we had Kitty. At that time we moved to Bath and I began another career as a broadcaster, making programmes for radio and television. I also began to write fiction, starting with ‘The Windsurf Boy’ (1983) and then the first ‘Kitty’ book, ‘I Don’t Want To’ (1985). In 2005 I began a new strand of my career, writing a weekly advice column for The Times, and in 2007 I took that column to The Daily Mail.
In September 2007 I married the photographer Robin Allison-Smith.
We live in Bath with our small white dog, a Maltese called Bonnie (of
course!) We like doing travel pieces together and riding around on
Robin’s Harley-Davidson ‘Fat Boy’ and dancing to the 1972 Wurlitzer
and eating and drinking and going to the theatre and hanging out with
friends and with Dan and Kitty. Robin and I have set up a company ‘Moon
Media’ which offers photography and words, sometimes together. Contact www.robinallisonsmith.co.uk to
discuss possibilities. We are also co-owners
of a boutique ski chalet in the French Alps, so if you are interested
in a wonderful holiday (beautiful in summer too) www.broski.co.uk.
HERE'S WHAT YOU WILL FIND ON THIS SITE:
Navigation around the rainbow is easy. For newish things happening to me, books etc, it’s the violet ‘News’ tab on the red Home Page. I update it as and when I have time, which isn’t often enough. But I am going to try to get better with this one.
You can read all about my Kitty books and the newer Bonnie books by flicking the yellow tab. Here you’ll find the story behind the Kitty books and the Bonnie books, as well as FAQ and a family picture gallery.
The green tab is all about my novels for older readers, as well as some thoughts and tips on writing which might interest anybody – not just those still at school.
‘Novels+’ (blue tab) is about my work – fiction and non-fiction - for adult readers. Here you will find a description of each novels and a selection of reviews. Don’t forget if a book is now out-of-print, thanks to the wonders of the Internet you can usually get hold of them. Do try – because, even though writing novels took second place to earning my living through journalism, I know I have written some good stuff. Will I write more? Maybe when I’m older, and want to emulate the marvellous Mary Wesley.
In Articles (dark purple) I try to give a flavour of my varied journalism. I have posted the originals of fairly recent pieces for a variety of newspapers and magazines, but it’s the equivalent of a soundbite. I guess I have written millions of words of journalism in my life, but never mind – at least some of it is posted here for your interest. I will keep updating when I can.
You can get in touch with me in three ways (see ‘Contact’ - cobalt blue). Just for the record after nearly forty years with David Higham Associates I have now changed agencies to:
Conville and Walsh Ltd
2 Ganton Street
London W1F 7QL
0207 287 3030