A recent choice…

I find it difficult to let my characters go once they are in print and chose to revisit one of them on 24th April 2014 during the Writers on the Loose performance at the Scarborough Flare Festival. 

This adapted extract, chosen from the title story of my collection, Picking at the Bones, portrays the narrator’s observations about silence following the death of her neighbour Bella.

I was pleasantly surprised that my choice to read this extract generated a sale of several copies – post performance – via my social networking sites.



 I’d known Bella’s time was nearing its end because about a week before she died, she told me she’d started to hear the silence whisper her name… like it was calling her home. That’s what happens at the end sometimes… death can creep up on you.

I’m looking at Bella’s window now… at the place where she kept fresh tulips in a vase. I can’t seem to focus my thoughts with the empty space waiting there.

It makes you a bit jittery when someone you’ve seen every day for two years is suddenly not there. You expect the dust from their bodies to be drifting around the places where they lived.

When Sheila (my friend from the flat below) told me about her neighbour’s passing last spring, she said she hadn’t even realised she’d died until her husband had rattled on her letterbox to invite her to the funeral. She’d only seen her neighbour feeding the birds in the garden a week before so she could hardly believe it.  After she’d died, the birds would sit chirruping on the fence, waiting for her to appear with crumbs. Sheila said the strangest thing had been how, one by one, the birds had stopped turning up for their breakfast. Sheila had kept seeing the ghost of her neighbour for weeks… every time she traipsed down the garden to look for the birds. It was like she was still lingering there.

There’s a quiet gap in the mornings even now without those birds. I think that’s why I remembered about Sheila because looking out of my window at the day, storing up my thoughts, I noticed the lack of sound. The leaves are stiff and still and the clouds suspended in mid-air. It’s as if time has stopped and someone has forgotten to wind it up again so the world can move on. It’s like a missed heartbeat in honour of Bella from the tulip flat. I think Bella would appreciate that. If there’s one thing she’ll know about now… it’s the silence.  


See Writing CV page on this website for more details

The First Ever Scarborough Flare

I would appreciate it if you could help with our publicity for the first ever Scarborough Flare Festival – 24th – 27th April 2014 (the local talent at the heart of the Scarborough Book Festival) by sharing this program with your contacts if you are able to. Thanks, Julie

More detailed info available at http://www.scarboroughflare.co.uk

For ticket information please scroll to end of page




First x 3 events are continuous from Thursday 10.00 a.m. through to Sunday

Tony Howson/Shush Exhibition + displays from S6F

The Studio Gallery

Continuous (start Thursday. 10.00 a.m.)

Marion Atkinson/of what one shouldn’t speak Exhibition

The Studio Gallery

Continuous (start Thursday. 10.00 a.m.)

Julie Fairweather/ The Postcard Challenge

Vernon Road Library

Continuous (start Thursday. 10.00 a.m.)




Bridget Cousins/The Mermaids Tale/workshop

Sitwell Library

10.30 – 13.00

John, Julie and Shirley

Writers on the Loose Again

Sitwell Library

 13.30 – 14.30

Gingernut and Tripod/Move the Earth performance

Sitwell Library

 15.00 – 16.00

Hull to Scarborough Line/ ‘The Remarkable Mr Rutherford’

Sitwell Library

18.00 – 19.00

George Cromack/Folk Horror creative writing workshop

Sitwell Library

19.30 – 21.30




Jo Reed/Women’s Works Workshop

The Studio  Gallery

10.00 – 12.30

Bridget Cousins and Co/ Heart and Harp

Lupin Cafe

13.00 – 14.00

Official Story Chair Launch

Vernon Road Library

15.00 – 16.00

Linda Randall/ “A Victorian Scandal: Ruskin, Millais and Effie Gray”/ performance and talk

Sitwell Library

18.00 – 19.00

Bill Hammond and the Scarborough Poetry Workshop/Poetry Slam

The Old Vic

Doors open: 19.00 for 19.30 start. Ends 23.00




Ross Wilson/Pleasure Domes public readings

The Brunswick Centre

10.30 – 12.00

David Lewis and others / One Day in December / rehearsal workshop

Westborough Methodist Church

10.00 – 12.00

Scarborough Poetry Workshop/100 years of British Poetry/ Readings

Crescent Art Gallery

14.00 – 15.00

Tales from the Story Chair/guest readers

Vernon Street Library

13.30 – 15.00

Kate Evans/ Taking Tea with Edith Sitwell

The Mezzanine, Woodend

15.30 – 16.45

Wanda Maciuszko and Alexandra Bradley / from Strangers to Friends

The Studio Gallery

18.00 – 19.00

Gingernut and Tripod/Move the Earth performance

Nomad Cafe

19.00 – 21.00

Jo Reed/ Beloved performance

The Studio Gallery

20.00 – 21.00

David Lewis and others/ One Day in December / performance

Westborough Methodist Church

19.30 – 21.00

Steven Ayckbourn / and Gillian Martin performance:  A man carrying a trunk”

Sitwell Library

20.30 – 21.30




Scarborough Amnesty International / See no Evil, Speak no Evil / Roger Osborne and Jay Prosser

Vernon Street Library

10.30 – 12.30

Adrienne Silcock/ Waves and Wishes/workshop

The Studio Gallery

14.00 – 17.30

Marion Atkinson and Tony Howson/ Secrets /night performance

The Studio Gallery

20.00 – 22.00

All tickets cost just £3.00. Some events are free.  Telephone (01723 384523) or visit the Scarborough Flare box office, Woodend, Tuesday to Friday between 10.00am and 4.00pm. You can also contact us through the website, which gives dates, times and details of each performance, on http://www.scarboroughflare.co.uk