Bren Bannister

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By fromewriterscollective, Jun 27 2018 10:36AM

For those of us brought up in the 1950s and 60s, the first decades of the century were when our grandparents were young. Go back one more generation and you had men who had fought in the Boer War. Many of us have lived in houses built at the end of the Victorian era: some of us still do. We live with the memories of that time – we have the artefacts, the printed records, the photographs, even moving pictures to remind us. But now the last 1914-18 Tommy has gone, the early twentieth century has passed into history and we are the grandparents. Mass media has moved on and today young people face a very different set of challenges.

The 1900s and 1910s have proved particularly fertile ground for two Frome authors whose dual narrative novels follow story-lines based in this era, alternating with ones set in the near-present age. Both writers draw on a variety of sources as well as personal experience to support their tales.

Wendy Worley's Echoes of Friendship is a fictional story inspired by letters sent to her grandfather by a German POW he befriended in the First World War. She relates the experience of Scottish soldier Mac's life in the trenches, having to face both enemy fire and the arbitrary cruelty of army discipline on a daily basis. Interspersed with this is the story of his great-grandson Andy's struggle to cope with family problems and the unwelcome attention of school bullies on a trip to the World War One battlefields. Andy makes a special friend of his own when German student Sophe joins his class. While the modern story has especial relevance to teenagers, the novel will interest readers of all ages.

Inspired by 18 years working in Tower Hamlets, Brenda Bannister's The Tissue Veil charts the coming of age of two young women: Emily in the early years of the twentieth century, and Bangladeshi student Aysha in the twenty-first. Their stories are linked by place – a large Victorian terrace house in east London – and by theme as both girls struggle against family pressures to achieve independence and determine their own course. There is also a time-defying link between them – fuelled by Aysha's discovery of a journal and Emily's sightings of a 'future ghost'. Their story will appeal to readers from older teens to adult.

Both novels are ultimately hopeful, inclusive and stress the importance of friendship.

Wendy and Brenda have published their novels under the logo of Frome Writers' Collective's innovative book brand, Silver Crow. Books accepted for this brand have been independently assessed by a team of readers: an assurance of a quality production. Silver Crow authors have gained wide experience of speaking to audiences in libraries, bookshops and festivals. They are happy to visit your group or school to talk about their writing experiences, including their use of early twentieth century sources, and to read from their books. They also explain how the Silver Crow submission process works.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch. Email Wendy ( ) or Brenda ( or telephone 01373 452541 / 07722243730 (Brenda) or 01373 813006 / 07986031414 (Wendy).

The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister
The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister
Echoes of Friendship by Wendy Worley
Echoes of Friendship by Wendy Worley
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