Heritage: The Female Composers that Time Forgot (The People’s Friend Special Issue no.197, 2020)
Earlier this year, I was commissioned by The People’s Friend to write a feature about forgotten women composers. You might wonder why I’m excited about this, but there are actually several reasons:-
- It’s an important subject – and it’s important for school and university students today, too!
- The People’s Friend average circulation is 157,380 per issue, so even though my feature appeared in a special issue, it has the potential to achieve wildly greater public engagement than anything else I’ve written about a research topic.
- Whilst getting published in academic circles is crucial – and sometimes difficult to achieve for us scholars – it isn’t easy getting published in popular magazines either.
- Well over two decades ago, I authored over 30 short stories and a serial for The People’s Friend (yes – shock! Actual popular fiction!) I’m completely convinced that this experience helped me to develop a readable style. Indeed, one of my PhD examiners said that I ‘really made the characters come to life’, and my unspoken response was along the lines of – yes, I know I can do that! At any rate, it feels good to have, in a sense, come home to a magazine which was formative for me in a different metier – so I’m actually very happy to have received this commission.
You could say my earlier serial had a prophetic title, because my own Norfolk “family never knew” I was doing my PhD – my second attempt at one – until I had actually got it! (The serial was totally different, and certainly not autobiographical – I have no secret, lost children, only the three that everyone knows about!)
To the curious:- my latest commission is logged in Pure, our institutional repository, so you can take a look. The serial will be harder to find. I have my own authorial copy, and more recently bought the only copy that I could find on eBay at the time. If you manage to get hold of a copy – well done! Make a cuppa, get a HobNob or two, and I hope you enjoy reading it.