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01 August 2008

Arts

Where fiction meets reality: meeting with Ann Turnbull - preview

Despite being the summer solstice, Cumbria was decidedly autumnal with lashings of rain on the day that author Ann Turnbull visited Brigflatts. But fifty people braved waterlogged fields to hear her speak, writes Tess Satchell

She began by telling us that when she had attended Quaker Meetings for Worship, she had been captivated by the stories of the tremendous courage and resilience of early Friends during the persecution period of the seventeenth century
  • In particular she had been moved by accounts of the children 'keeping the Meeting' and by the remarkable young Thomas Ellwood who had had to defy his father in order to attend


  • Ann told us that when she first approached her publisher with the outline proposal for a Quaker novel, it was rejected out of hand
  • Historical fiction was then out of vogue and religion deemed a non-starter for her target audience
  • However, by 2002, publishers were actually asking for historical fiction once more – they realized that many young readers were actually responsive thinkers with a lively interest in the past
  • This time her proposal, which had been knocking about at the back of her mind for years, was received with real enthusiasm
  • She had done her best to be meticulously accurate, but she still approached Friends' House to ask if a Quaker would check her historical account
  • She was advised to make a few very minor alterations and she felt encouraged by this Quaker historian's enthusiastic response to her manuscript

  • Tess Satchell

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    UN urges UK to improve human rights implementation
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    Where fiction meets reality: meeting with Ann Turnbull
    Tess Satchell
    Dog in B flat major (or a week in Liguria)
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    Lost in translation in a Quaker context
    Jaana Erkkilä
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