The author, Tony Bradman (‘Dilly the Dinosaur’ and ‘Viking Boy’) said of my short story, ‘Rhubarb and Coco’ that it was ‘a truly haunting and original story about death’.

But why would anyone want to write about death or assume an omniscient narrator, you might wonder.

For me, the blending of the natural world and the supernatural have become second nature. Growing up I was fascinated by the merging of the real and the magical. One of the first stories I ever wrote and shared was called ‘A Beautiful Place’. It won first prize at school and helped convince me that I would one day take time to write when I was older. I must have sensed the years coming that were filled with seven school changes, a topsy turvy home life and the conveyor belt of grading and exams. It was many years before I felt I’d ‘come home’ when I took myself off to study for an MA in Writing for Children.

The interweaving of different worlds could easily be likened to the experience of growing up. I grew up in the poorer suburbs of South London, when children were actively let out to play. It might have been my saving grace. During my explorations of building sites and hidden green spaces I learnt to grow resilient, forging friendships and learning how to disappear into another world – one in which many adults seemed to have forgotten all about.

‘I returned to writing when my youngest daughter was nearly three, completing several modules with my local adult institute – and loving every minute. I started to enter competitions and went on to take a masters course in creative writing, travelling from Kent to Winchester every week.

I’ve continued to keep a journal with the intention of publishing a memoir one day and I get torn between writing fiction for children and non-fiction for adults. But I’m quietly of the opinion that all writing is good for the soul. It doesn’t matter which genre it is, as long as you keep writing something’.


Melanie Benn