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The Veranda by Rowena Edlin-White

Readers of The Storybook Home Journal will be familiar with The Veranda, a place for readers to share inspiring thoughts, images, and interests within the pages of the Journal. We'd like to expand our "Veranda" to include the Newsroom as well, and are beginning with a little more about British subscriber, Rowena Edlin-White. You may have already noticed our new sidebars, right and left, including a section for links to a few blogs of Storybook Home readers and subscribers of which we were already aware. Please feel free to send us a link to your blog or website if yours does not already appear!

Rowena Edlin-White
I was born in Nottingham – famous for lace and Robin Hood - in 1948. My parents had both been professional actors and I always expected to follow in their footsteps. Acting was in my blood and it became my first profession.

Writing and publishing came later, in the 1980s, when I returned to Nottingham after being "on the road" for 15 years in all kinds of theater work and television, and ready for a change. Brought up in the "make do and mend" era just after the War, I had learnt to spin and dye with plant materials whilst working in North Wales and my first publications were written for other spinners. With my friend Dee Duke, I published a quarterly journal, The Spinster's Almanack, and a series of booklets called Woolgatherings for hand-spinners and dyers. We finished the Almanack three years ago after 25 years, but the Woolgatherings are still available. You can read all about – and purchase - them on the Scottish Tartans Authority website.

Since those early days I have written in a variety of genres both for mainstream publishers and under my own imprint, Smallprint. Books include:

Clo and the Albatross (age 9-12, Lion Publishing), Love Abiding: a summer ghost story (Smallprint) and short stories in magazines in the UK and USA

The Revenge of the Christmas Fairy: a memoir of the ‘fifties (for children of all ages, Smallprint)

Dancing on Mountains: an anthology of women's spiritual writings (with Kathy Keay, HarperCollins), Design Your Own Wedding Ceremony (HarperCollins) and In the Frame: thirteen short stories for young adults (Five Leaves Publishing)

Grace's Diary: the journal of Grace Jane Dexter 1884-1893 (Smallprint) and Spinster of No Occupation? Mary Ellen Shaw 1859-1926 (Smallprint)
These are the first two of a series, ‘Women of Spirit'. It all began when an elderly cousin gave me the manuscript diary of his great-aunt Grace who was born in 1865. As a young woman she was befriended by Florence Nightingale, who encouraged her to pursue her ambition to become a certificated teacher – which involved working for 13 years as a pupil teacher in public schools. The story of social reformer Mary Ellen Shaw followed, and the story of yet another spirited Victorian woman is in the pipe-line!
I have always been interested in women's history, including the many hundreds of Victorian women hymn writers on both sides of the Atlantic – you can read about some of them on

Other non-fiction:
A Hundred Years Ago: the beginnings of Girl Guiding in Nottinghamshire (Smallprint)

I wrote my PhD on Kate Douglas Wiggin, author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and discovered her adult, Penelope books, based on her early travels in Great Britain. Now I publish The Quill, a modest journal dedicated to her life, writings and travels and continue to follow in her footsteps whenever I have time. My research still takes me regularly to the USA, where I have made many friends. Contact me ( if you are interested.

And currently? I am preparing a book on the literary history of Nottingham for Five Leaves Publishing – a kind of town trail of authors, some long-gone, some very much alive, who have been inspired to write, like myself, by Nottingham and its environs.
Sadly, some of my earlier books are now out of print, though second-hand copies may be found. All the others, including Woolgatherings, are available from Nottingham Books.

Tags: 2010, The Veranda

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