Wednesday, 14 October 2015


I was unable to attend the funeral this week of my writer friend Liz Whittaker, who has died of cancer. I am posting this blog in her memory.

I worked with Liz on the local paper, the Tivy-Side, and on the PENfro Book Festival committee, where she was a founding member. And in recent years we shared many happy hours talking about writing and our own creative pursuits. 

Below is my tribute to Liz, which was included with many others in the local press. And my poem 'Omens', one of several of mine to be inspired by this lovely (and very funny) woman. 'Omens' was written when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and appears in my collection, The Spaces in Between.

“A passionate advocate of the arts in Wales and further afield, Liz Whittaker was an inspiration to many.  She was a creative and witty person and a talented writer. Through her work with the Cardigan Writers group and with many individuals who sought her advice, she encouraged many people to write and explore their own creativity.

“Her valuable contribution as a founding member of the organising committee of the PENfro Book Festival also helped to promote the work of many of the talented writers we have in this area.

“On a personal level she was a most valued colleague and a true friend. She will be greatly missed by many in the Cardigan area and much farther afield.”

(for Liz)

Rubies on threads shine energy into the world.

A shower of tiny white dots, magnified a hundred times,

a constellation in a galaxy a million miles away,

or fireworks, rockets bursting against dark clouds.

But they are not out there, those ornaments,

not light years distant or high in the sky,

they are in you, my friend, deep inside, and silent.

Seen only on x-ray, or scanner screen, magnified a hundred times.

They are still wonders, so beautiful but deadly.

They will grow and grow, reproduce in a frenzy, become ugly.

They will murder you and take you away from us,

to your fantastic, explosive new universe –

like a shooting star magnified a million times.

And here's the link to my review of my favourite of Liz's books, 'The Bardic Monk':