I’ve been telling stories and writing them ever since I can remember.
However, the need to support myself steered me into writing and editing on commission – mainly children’s non-fiction and contributions to reading schemes. That’s tended to come in the way of writing anything that hasn’t been specifically asked for: earning a living takes time and energy. Short stories, by their nature, are less demanding of both than the full-scale novel that’s lurked in my computer for years. When lack of time came between me and that longer work, I’ve always enjoyed writing shorter pieces – a circumscribed and maneagable form of creativity.
Writing short stories gives me the chance to make small, other worlds in my imagination, find the people living in those worlds, and tell their stories.
In doing this, I can draw on so much I have learned in work and in life – both in the UK and in Africa, where I lived for around three years.
Now I have given up editing and commissioned writing full-time, I hope to continue write – more novels, poetry and, as always, stories for both adults and young people.
After years of being a writer for hire, I am at last becoming a writer for myself.
Jenny Vaughan in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1953 I can't remember – I've always done it.
What do you love about short stories?I love writing short stories because of the satisfaction of completion it gives me.
Do you write in other forms?Novels, poems, non-fiction (lots off the last!)
What distracts you from writing?Housework.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Politics, reading, gardening, travel, love.
What is your favourite book?Middlemarch
Who are your favourite writers?George Eliot, John Donne and Andrea Levy
Where is your dream location?East Africa
What one item would you put into Room 101?People telling me how to live my life.
Do you have any advice for new writers?My advice would be, keep going, drink tea, don't be afraid.
Work by Jenny Vaughan:
Waiting for Sister Constance
This is the story a day in the life of eleven-year-old Sara. Like thousands of other children in southern Africa, she’s an orphan, and she’s looking after her younger brothers and sisters. A kindly nun, Sister Constance, is due to visit the family today – but she’s late, and Sara is getting worried. Will she come? What if she doesn’t? Why hasn’t she come? What will the children do if Sister Constance doesn’t turn up?
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