Brenda Ray

Brenda Ray

I was born in Derby, England, which I love, laugh at and get cross with, in equal measure, but I'd hate to leave it. I have worked in librarianship, the theatre as a professional playwright, and as a creative writing teacher, but have now returned to short story writing, which is what I did when I first started writing years ago. I also have a degree in Photographic Studies from the University of Derby, and an interest in silent movies, and in the Spanish Civil War(it's a long story) which tends to crop up in my writing, both fiction and theatre. I have now finished what people refer to as "proper work" - ie I don't get paid often any more - and published two short story collections, THE SIREN OF SALAMANCA (Leaf Books)in 2008 and GONDWANALAND, with Circaidy Gregory Press, in 2013. I've won one or two short story awards at different times, and a couple of play-writing bursaries from the Arts Council when I was doing theatre work. A few of my short stories are based on family history, in which I have a great interest, since I was intrigued as a child by a number of what appeared to be very interesting skeletons in the family closet. The story ESME was inspired by one of these. Some time after writing it, I found out what really happened, and it was certainly strange, if rather less sensational. Several other stories, similarly inspired, turn up in my story collection GONDWANALAND. Frustratingly, several of the real stories remain still incomplete, which only goes to show - truth really is stranger than fiction. So I think I'll stick with fiction for now... More stories and other writings may be found on my website at


Brenda Ray in 60 seconds

When did you start writing?

1959 at school in Belper, Derbyshire.

What do you love about short stories?

There's no room for waffle or padding.

Do you write in other forms?

Plays, memoirs, comedy sketches.

What distracts you from writing?

Physical exhaustion!

Outside of writing, what are your other passions?

People-watching, eavesdropping, landscapes, family, cats, comedy.

What is your favourite book?

Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson.

Who are your favourite writers?

HE Bates, Alison Lurie and Dylan Thomas.

Where is your dream location?

Non-tourist Spain.

What one item would you put into Room 101?


Do you have any advice for new writers?

Observe, listen, care, be natural.

Work by Brenda Ray:

Return Journey
Brenda Ray
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A Republican soldier returns in spirit to the battle grounds of the Spanish Civil War.
Brenda Ray
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