Remembering Barbara Hardy

507Professor Barbara Hardy, writer, critic and poet, died recently.

I first met Barbara in March 1983 when she interviewed me for a place on the BA English degree in her large, comfortable room in Malet Steet.  Well dressed in a two-piece suit, set off by an exuberant scarf, she was a compelling figure.  At the end she asked, ‘Do you write poetry?’ and gave me a warm, distinctive smile.  She was an excellent lecturer, lucid and interesting, with a clear and lively voice.  I recall her seminars on ‘The Novel’ as examples of engaged, democratic enquiry.

You can read the rest of my personal tribute to my old teacher, mentor and friend on the Birkbeck website.

Shortlisted for a short story prize

In April 2016 I was added to the shortlist of four for the Jeremy Mogford £7,500 Prize for Food and Drink Writing.  I had a great time at the generous party and dinner in Oxford. You can read my story ‘Marlow Bridge in Summer’ here and there are photographs of the event, in The Oxford Times here.

Performance, art, Pink Floyd and a QC

I am currently writing a few memoir pieces, set in late-1970s London, during the period of my life when I was involved with performance art. The artist was sculptor Paul Wright, who was also part of the design team for the Pink Floyd stage shows, and a QC, who was the ‘art object’, taken all over London in various disguises. The event was photographed and then recorded on a Rank Xerox colour copier, a new process at the time. I was the helper, sometimes writer of set pieces, and occasional performer. The QC, a good friend, is now dead, and the full story, which will reveal his identity, can be told for the first time. There will be a London exhibition of the work in September 2016.