Here at Clifford Whitworth HQ, we’ve been thrilled to receive a few special items in the mail recently. No, not Christmas cards, certainly not bills (take that, ‘Blue Monday!’), and definitely not leaflets promising bargain-priced miracle cures. But some outstanding new additions to our Leisure Reading collection, each with a special connection to Salford.
Intrigued? Read on…
Children of Coal
Judith White’s memoir, Children of Coal, opens on a cool Lancashire beach. Using plastic spades, she and a friend frantically dig between sand dunes. Hoping to reach Australia, they find only mud. Some years later Judith reaches Australia by a different route. Following the defeat of the 84/85 UK Miner’s Strike, Judith – now a writer, publisher, and activist – follows her partner to Sydney. There she learns from the First Nation People about the grave impact of colonialism.
As the title suggests, coal runs through Judith’s fascinating life story. It is the resource on which her extended family in Manchester and Yorkshire rely for work. Later in Australia, a country where the coal lobby remains strong, she witnesses coal mining’s severe environmental impact. Throughout the memoir vivid family stories are set against the broader social and political climate to extremely powerful effect.
Judith’s father, Mancunian Donald White, features prominently in the memoir. A student at Salford Tech in the twenties, Donald went on to teach Organic Chemistry there (when it became the Royal College of Advanced Technology – a forerunner of what became the University of Salford in 1967!). He was a popular team cricketer and, in a rare honour for a staff member, he was made a lifelong member of the Students’ Union! Judith fondly recalls visiting him at Salford’s labs: ‘From the windows in the corridor LS Lowry had drawn some of his cityscapes peopled with his first signature figures of Lancashire working people – the first real paintings I ever saw.’
Though many years in gestation, Judith began writing the work during lockdown. An experience familiar to our next author…
Dark Hallows Trilogy
After her young daughter started school and COVID hit, Gabrielle Wright was stuck at home reading more than ever. Characters were soon forming so clearly in her mind that she knew she had a story to tell. So, the former Salford University Film Studies student, who previously worked in Finance, started exchanging writing with another budding writer friend online. Three months later she had finished her first novel, the gripping Revival of a King. A dark, captivating story of a wronged woman’s revenge, Revival of a King and its sequels (Revenge of a Queen and Rebellion of a Kingdom) rapidly resulted in a huge, dedicated following for her pen name, G.N. Wright.
Two further novels, Distrust and Reckless Rebel, have rightly increased the numbers charmed by Gabby’s tough and feisty characters (one million page reads in three weeks for Distrust!). How does she manage such an impressive output?
She describes her routine as ‘organised chaos,’ committedly writing while her daughter is at school or sleeping. A team of readers also provide feedback and edits. Importantly, self-publishing through Amazon has given Gabby complete control over her works. She can choose her own release dates and prices, and there are no publishing fees or profit splits. It’s a route she’d recommend to other writers.
As for other top tips, Gabby recommends utilising social media like Instagram and Tik Tok for promotion. ‘Get yourself out there…there will definitely be people who like your work,’ she encourages.
With three years of interlinking projects already in the pipeline, we can’t wait to add further tales to our Leisure Collection.
Got a story to tell?
The Library has plenty of writing on writing – check out some below. And remember, we provide abundant, ideal space for scribbling!
Library copies on loan? Pick up a copy for yourself
Children of Coal by Judith White
G.N. Wright novels