This blog is not about writing, although there are one or two excursions into aspects of the creative process. No. This blog is mostly about place. Land and landscapes – actual and metaphysical: the bedrock of existence and also, in that conjured ‘sense of place’ the bones of all memorable fiction. These days I live on the edge of Wenlock Edge, an upthrust limestone ridge of vast antiquity. Some four hundred million years ago it lay prone, the floor of a shallow tropical ocean. This was the Silurian Sea that, before tectonic shift and shunt caused it to pitch up in Shropshire, in England’s Midlands, lay south of the equator somewhere off Africa’s east coast.
In my writer’s mind this extraordinary geological structure, some twenty miles long, feels like a threshold, or better still, a conduit through time and space. There’s a certain congruency too. Before I came to live on the Edge, I had lived in Kenya for seven years, with a nine month stay in Zambia in between. But Shropshire is the place I am from (well mostly), and the notion that I have somehow come home and at the same time returned to the place I had left, though in quite another age and hemisphere, tweaks my imagination.
So: this is where I post impressions (often more visual than verbal) of the place where I am, and the places I have been; and sometimes they get mixed together. But that doesn’t matter. These days too, I might say I am more of a gardener than a writer. Or at least, and here I’m taking a leaf from the late-days account that R.S. Thomas gave of himself as poet and/or birdwatcher, I might say that on days when the writing goes well, I am a writer; on the days it goes badly, I am a gardener who takes photos. But however you find me, welcome to Writer on the Edge.
I began writing while I was living in Kenya. At the time, when it came to children’s fiction, the Nairobi bookshops mostly stocked European imports, Enid Blytons and Hardy Boys reprints. There were few stories that featured African kids as heroes in their own time. This made me angry enough to overlook my presumption in appointing myself, an English ex-patriot, to do something about the situation. My fury carried me a long way. Zimbabwe Publishing House and Phoenix Kenya accepted my first two works, a picture book Flame Tree Market and short novel, Jessicah the Mountain Slayer. These titles won first and second children’s literature prizes respectively at the 1995 Zimbabwe International Book Fair. That is a long time ago, but is still a source of deep satisfaction. Extraordinarily too, both titles have remained in print in Kenya ever since, or at least they were at my last royalty pay-out. (Over two decades now!) My next two stories were also published for African young people, Joe Sabuni P I (Heinemann JAWS) and Sea Running (Macmillan Pacesetter). Joe Sabuni was later translated into six Zambian languages as a means (rather obviously to my mind) of encouraging teens to read by giving them books in their mother tongue rather than in their second language, English.
Meanwhile my African short stories were being published for children of all ages in the United States in Carus Publishing’s Cricket, Spider and Cicada magazines. When I returned to the UK I was commissioned by Ticktock publishers and Compass Point Books in the US to write a 6-book creative writing series for 8-10 year olds. The series won several awards. The UK edition Write your own adventure stories won third prize at the inaugural Society of Authors’ Educational Writers Award, and Write your own science fiction stories gained (of all extraordinary extraterrestrial entities) a special Golden Duck award for ‘encouraging excellence in children’s Science Fiction writing’. I take heart from the fact that J K Rowling has also won a Golden Duck.
My most recent works have been quick reads for unkeen teen readers for Ransom: Mau Mau Brother; Mantrap and Stone Robbers. I also reworked one of my Cicada Magazine stories, Losing Kui, as a Kindle e-book. It was originally published as El Nino and the Bomb (Nov-Dec 2008). Cicada publishes literary fiction that appeals to both an adult and near adult readership. My very good friend, Buffalo artist, Kathleen Collins Howell, kindly created the cover.
Things are going from bad to worse in Ingigi village. No one knows why five-year old Kui has gone missing. Nor does Sergeant Njau want to find out. He has his own problems, pressing matters that are far from legal. Then there is the endless rain. Will it never stop? Some Ingigi folk think it means the end of the world. Old man, Winston Kiarie, has other ideas. He senses some man-made disaster, and when it happens, it is worse than his worst imaginings. The fierce storms are causing landslides and throwing up British bombs, unexploded for forty years. Their discovery is giving the Assistant Chief ideas: how to make himself very rich. And then there’s young Joseph Maina and the primary school drop-outs thinking they have found treasure, and about to do something very, very foolish. Meanwhile, is anyone looking for Kui?
“Losing Kui” is a fast-paced novella of interwoven tales. There are secrets, conspiracies, tragedy and dark comedy. The setting is a fictional East African country in the late 1990s, a time when El Niño rains were causing havoc. The author lived in Kenya during most of the 1990s, and much of the story was inspired by real events.
5 star reviewed
More about my published books and stories HERE
The story that inspired a children’s opera HERE
110 thoughts on “About Tish Farrell”
Lovely too meet you Tish! You have a fascinating story, I’ll bet that you use your travels as a source of inspiration 🙂
I look forward to reading more of your blog in the coming days!
Take care, talk soon 🙂
Nice to meet you too. You have some great pieces on your blog
esp the piece on bullying. I must go back and ‘like’ it. We all need to remember the ‘Be Kind’ banner.
Thank you very much for visit my site. Like your blog. Cheers!.
I enjoyed reading your stories about Kenya. I worked in Southern Sudan and Ethiopia for Save the Children Fund in 1980 as a medical officer. I visited Nairobi to get root canal work done, but it didn’t put me off Kenya. In comparison to Sudan, it was heaven. Incidentally, the tooth lasted me until it was extracted six weeks ago. My future wife and I travelled in Kenya at the end of my contract, and we visited Lamu, Melindi, Mombasa, the Lakes and even went camping in old fashioned scout tents in the Mara!
I wish I’d kept a diary for my time working overseas, but we were very busy and my letters home will capture some of the memories. I also have about two thousand slides / transparencies, many of which are starting to age like your photographs in your blog. I had a go at digitising them, picking out the ones of my wife, who died 14 months ago.
Now I have this trendy little iPad and a small digital camera, and I can share my experiences with my friends and others who take a glimpse at my blogs. I’m lucky with the technology to be able to do this so easily. My friends have asked me if I was going to write my memoirs; I haven’t time because I’m writing to describe my present.
I look forward to reading more of your reflections.
Best wishes, Dr Ian Cross
Many thanks, Ian, for extending your safaris to my pages. I’ve been enjoying yours too. Best wishes, Tish.
A big thank you for following my blog, Tish
I have enjoyed poking about your blog here this morning. Turns out to be quite the lovely writers respite. There is much going on here! And I feel at home.
Anyways, I like what you’re doing, and I do admire your success! Don’t mind if I tarry on a bit longer here, and read some other things worth reading.
Keep it up, Tish!
You’re most welcome to tarry here. Thanks for your most supportive comments. Much appreciated. Sometimes it feels as if one’s writing in a tunnel. Or a black hole. Which reminds me, I must get back to yours. Love the plank cooking.
“…staring at the page
until your eyes bleed?
… in an attempt to stop my eyes bleeding,
or my brain exploding
I thought I would use this blog…”
= very good decision, Tish!
And so I can enjoy your comments!
Thanks a lot, Frizz. The feeling’s mutual. Love all your posts.
Love your stories about Kenya. Great blog, Tish!
Thanks a lot. And thanks for reading.
Your blog is very interesting, especially the African stories. You have experienced two very different places, which must give you a unique perspective. And what versatility as a writer! Encouraging young writers is something to feel especially proud of.
Thank you very much for your encouraging comments. And yes, living in two worlds is interesting as you must find too. There is, for me at least, the danger of not being quite at home in either – which is interesting from the writer’s perspective, but can leave you feeling a bit rootless. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to your olive grove and the life you are making there. Very creative in the deepest sense – right down to the roots of things. I wish you all success.
I used to use the rootless word quite joyously when younger. Now I think Rootless could also mean above ground, being able to float happily between universal connections😉 Do you feel that?
I like that notion very much 🙂
😀Thank you. I like your memories here
Tish…….What can I say?
This blog, from what I have read so far, and from your amazing photographs, is a joy!
I am now going to follow with interest, and feel very pleased that you took the time to visit and comment on my own blog. Truthfully, you have such a talent my friend. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I look forward to seeing more
Bob, what very kind comments! You’re so welcome to my blog. I shall be visiting yours too. I like your words and pics too. Nice to meet you.
Ditto my friend!
I would like to express my appreciation through awarding you
Best Moment Award
Inner Peace Award
You don’t have to accept it if it’s not your kinda thing, but please accept my sincere appreciation of your work.
Please drop by and check it out here: http://middlepathofmoderation.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/winning-awards-rules/
Congrats and cheers!
Thanks so much the nomination, Sona, and also your very kind comments. That people read my blog is reward enough, so I’d rather not accept this, Best wishes, Tish
Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I appreciate it very much. 😀
And thanks for your visit here.
It’s a joy and honor to to meet you through your amazing blog. Have a great weekend.
Thank you for your lovely comments, Island Traveler. You always have something uplifting to say, which is the greatest gift.
Love to write, love to travel, love to eat, cook and host. Looking forward to reading more from you Tish !!
Thanks for reading and welcome, Kandee. I shall now head over to your blog. See you there!
Welcome … I hope you like what you see 🙂 Stay hungry Tish !!
Congrats on your publishing successes! I’ve tried Cricket with no success (yet). We had the illustrator speak at our last regional conference. Her sketches were so much fun.
Keep on trying with Cricket. They do make the best of writer’s work.
An honor to have you visit one of my Ligo haibun. While I have only been scantly published off the net – not yet a professional… I do enjoy writing – mostly poetry. I will book mark your place. I was just glancing at the two latest posts and I sort of remember The Prisoner…I, being a misfit of the 1960’s. Your photos are inspirational as well.
Thanks again, Jules
Thanks for your comments too, Jules. As Clarissa Pinkola Estez says: if you write you are a writer. Getting published a lot isn’t everything, though it always seems as if it is. I think blogging gives writers true freedom to create the things they want to create, and build an audience too. Keep writing and posting!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking some of my posts there. I’m glad to see you actually liked a couple of the more political ones. My friends keep telling me I should stop ranting about all that ‘crap’ and chill out, but I really do care. I think I do it a lot to ‘keep my head from exploding” too!! Nice to see at least a few other people care at least enough to take a look.
You have an interesting blog here and I like your writing. Great that you’ve already been published. 🙂
Thanks for putting in here, Jill. Your comments are much appreciated. And I think we do need to rant a bit. So keep it up.
I really enjoy your writing style. Don’t let your head explode, and keep bringing positive vibes to the blogosphere.
Thanks for your support. You have an interesting blog. Keep up the good work. One day the majority will open their eyes too.
I hope so. Only god knows and time will tell. Thanks for the support. Stay tuned for my novel release in January 2014.
I have nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.
More about this nomination is at
Many thanks for the nomination. Much appreciated, DearKitty.
Hi Tish, I’m glad you visited my blog so that I can find yours. I love your African stories, writing tips, well everything about your blog. Thank you for these wonderful stories.
Well, thank you too for all your encouraging comments. Lovely to meet you.
This is wonderful to know that there are people who try their best to help the “slow” readers. I’ve been a teacher my whole life. The last 4 years I had year 1, 2, 3 classes all in one!( Private school in South Africa) Books are so important to those first time readers. I am not a fast reader too, but still enjoy reading. Then also the illustrations in those young children’s books are also very important. They need to visiolise(can’t spell word) it in their minds.
Thanks so much for your comments, Scrapydo. It’s good to hear a teacher’s point of view.
Hi Tish. Thank you for visiting and following HoB. Much appreciated!
Hi Herman. You’re very welcome. I think your blog is great, and have been meaning to follow for some time.
I have nominated your blog for the Working to Change the World Award.
More on this nomination is at
Thanks so much for the nomination. Am honoured.
Well deserved 🙂 All the best for you and your blog!
Yeah, Adams nailed the bleeding eyes alright.
I usually get up and go dig in the garden. 😉
you and me both!
Hello Tish, Thanks a lot for stopping by my blog. You have a great blog here.
Have a great time.
Thank you, Sreejith.
Wow! Hello Tish. What a lovely blog you have. So full of heart and do and bravery and responsibility. You have done a lot of great work. Each children’s story that you have written sounds fascinating. I am going to investigate further into those books for myself and for my son. Your blog is one of those earthy feel good places to be. A beautiful mind. 🙂
Very lovely of you to say all that, Nomzi. Great minds, as they say! Apart from which, you are a most welcome guest in my blog. I shall be visiting yours too.
Congratulations on all of your success! I appreciate your visit to my blog and wish you all the very best in life and your writing endeavors!
Your good wishes are much appreciated, Sue. And likewise, thanks for visiting.
Thank you so much for visiting Little Dogs Laughed-I appreciate you taking the time to look and comment-Best wishes for Continued Success in your writing!
You are most welcome. I enjoyed seeing you dogs, and thank you for your spurring-on comment.
Thank you for the visit and follow Tish. I enjoyed reading up on your posts. Will be back for more ! 🙂
Thank you for visiting, Shivani. You have a very beautiful blog.
Hi Tish, just been reading about your distracting disease. I seem to have similar with some of my ‘projects’. Making things can be very scary, well not the doing but the thinking about whether it can be done. I spend many hours, even days, pondering on whether it can be done, whatever it is. I sit in the car outside supermarkets with sketches in my head. I go to bed and get up again to fetch a notepad to put down on paper what is bothering me. You say it helps you to ‘talk out loud’. I find myself unfolding my head borne portfolio of madness to my neighbour who soaks up my daft ideas. This helps no end.
Keep ‘unfolding’, Bs to Bs. It works both ways. That’s what good neighbours are for. Tx
I look forward to your posts! My husband, Clyde Kessler, is a writer and has had his poetry published over 200 times in small press magazines.
That’s quite a track record your husband has. Brilliant. And thank you, too, for looking forward to my posts. Most heartening 🙂
Thank you and you are welcome! He just got three more accepted today in The Kentucky Review! His poems will be in the online version and the printed version which is reserved for the poems the editors think are the best!
Tish, I’ve enjoyed engaging in discourse with you; and anyone who’s a friend of Ark, Noel, and John, is a friend of mine. Very nice to meet you and I look forward to reading your writings as time permits. Should you visit my blog, please don’t croak over my gross lack of writing skills. I’m an advocate and human rights activists, not a writer. 😉
What a very nice note you have left here. I’m pleased to meet you too, and would not dream of passing judgement on your writing skills. I should think you probably express yourself very proficiently given your calling. I shall now pop over to see.
Tish, thanks so much for stopping by my blog, for the likes and comments. 🙂 Right now, I’m in a season of blogging where I’m exposing “stuff” that is commonly taboo to do in my country. I found my voice on WP and I don’t plan on shutting up anytime soon. But I’m not always so serious. Not by a long shot.
Do you like living in the UK?
That is a remarkably hard question to answer. What can I say? It is familiar and I am blessedly well provided with facilities. It presents many pleasing realities (and much hypocrisy). I guess I’m here because I’m here. 🙂
Great answer. 🙂
Hi Tish. Thank you so much for stopping by at my blog. Feels honoured 🙂 Some of your books really got amy attention, and I am sure to read those. Reading always enriches you and takes you to another wonderland.
Keep in touch and I hope you will visit me back.
Thank you, Aanchal. I will keep in touch. Am ‘following’ right now 🙂
Thank you so much Tish. Have a lovely week.
I love that hat, Tish 🙂
It’s good, isn’t it. Not only that, it was given to me by a very dear friend, who thought it would suit me better than her. And it’s reversible!
It suits you perfectly. I have a very short intro about you ready for Thursday. Do you want me to send it to you before for approval?
I’m sure you’ve done a good job, Paula, so no need to send it. But thanks for asking 🙂
Hello, Jacob. You have set yourself quite a task, but thank you for including my blog in your quota. Your blog looks great. I’ll be back there. Cheers.
Hi Tish – I’m quite taken with your blog, both words and pictures. I’m glad you found our blog so I could find yours.
Thanks for following our blog. I hope you enjoy the stories of our journey, both inner and outer. And don’t be a stranger. Feel free to join in the conversation.
Hello Tish, I dropped by to thank you for the like on my post on the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, and discovered a prolific author behind the “like”. What an achievement. I am thrilled to advise that my first attempt, a memoir, I Belong to No One, will be published by Hachette Australia in July this year. Hope it will get picked up for the UK market. I have high hopes of following up with an historical fiction – but who knows? You must be so pleased with your efforts. cheers GG
Very good luck with the book, Gwendoline, and thanks for returning the visit to my blog. And yes, I’m especially pleased with the work I do for reluctant readers.
You are to be applauded. I have failed to inspire one of my grand-daughters. Over the years I have watched her turn further away from the written word. At fourteen, she is bordering on illiterate. I have a belief that you ‘learn to read, then read to learn’, and I wonder what opportunities she will miss out on in the future.
It’s sad, but there are so many other distractions that seem more exciting – and reading isn’t seen as ‘cool’.
G’day Tish I would like to nominate you for the 5 photos 5 stories challenge that is doing the rounds. I would love to see what you do with this fun challenge.
Of course there’s no obligation Tish, have fun if you want to join in!
The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.
You lead a very interesting blog by photographic and content
Greetings from Luke
Thank you, Luke. It’s nice of you to read all those posts 🙂
🙂 Nice to meet you too
Hi Tish, thank you for visiting my blog and the ‘Likes’. Much appreciated.
Hi Tish – looking to get a quick word with you in regard of your clog about the Much Wenlock Council Chambers – Karl (Shropshire Star newspaper) 01952 241490.
Pleasure to read your piece. I found one similarity between you and Bart Wolffe. Both are uprooted from their respective places in Africa and still adjust to live at the new environment. Good. Keep Going
Thanks so much for the encouragement.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and liking some of them. Feels nice to come across a good writer like you. Keep up the great work.
Many thanks 🙂
For whatever reason l can now receive authentication codes – if it was something you did thank you if not l am relieved beyond belief.
So sorry to have bothered you and in any event thank you.
It wasn’t me, not unless wishing your computer better actually worked 🙂
I find the flow in your writing very captivating. Wish you all the best 🍀
Many thanks for those very kind words, Dilip.
I landed here after you visited my own blog and subscribed. It is quite unlikely that I would ever have found my way here otherwise. And now I have started to read your posts, I am absolutely enthralled. Not only because your writing is so graceful and the accompanying photographs so beautifuuly composed, but because so many of your pieces carry me back to my own childhood. The thrill of the Devil’s Chair is one of my earliest memories; camped up on The Stiperstones listening to ghost stories as a primary school child. And I have cycled past those cooling towers at Buildwas on my way to discover the nearby abbey. Ironbridge formed the destination for many a Sunday afternoon outing. So I thank you Tish for visiting my own site and feel quite honoured actually. I also very much look forward to reading new instalments of your adventures in Shropshire and beyond.
Hello James. That is probably the loveliest comment I’ve received on this blog. I’m cherishing the ‘graceful’. We seem to have quite a bit of common ground – Shrewsbury, Sheffield Uni, East Africa…The Big NHS Heist was the biggest eye-opener, so many thanks again for posting it. I’ve posted it twice to FB and also to Twitter. I hadn’t realised the shocking scale of the conspiracy spun around us all, this despite following Craig Murray et al. Listening to the wretched Today programme this morning, it seems the powers that be are now intent on demoralising us out of bothering to vote: the two main contenders presented as being as ‘bad as each other’. What times we live in! But then there has to be a bright side too – so I am v. happy to have discovered you and your blog 🙂
The ways in which our lives have run in parallel are just uncanny. What are the chances that we would finally run into one another by such a roundabout route? Still more curiously, quite a few of my friends in Sheffield are writers too from days when I tagged around with the poets of the university writers’ group. So I wonder if you know them.
I won’t disrupt the calm with an injection of politics. Just to say that I too agree with Craig Murray about most things and that the rabbit hole is indeed a deep one.
Well, it is great that I met you here and perhaps if you ever pop by in Sheffield we might share a tea or coffee and enjoy a real chat together. I’m sure we’d find plenty to talk about.
Thank you for that very kind invitation. Haven’t been back to Sheffield for years. And no, I wasn’t writing very much when I was there. I think I’m anyway a generation older than you (she says, trying to ignore fast accruing years). Cheers for now. And I will keep up with your blog.
Hi Tish, just to let you know that I nominated you on my blog. I just to let you know that I really appreciate the work you do… Keep it up! https://afrolegends.com/2020/05/26/vincent-ehindero-blogger-award-thank-you-dear-kitty/
Thank you very much, Dr. Y. I appreciate your appreciation, but please excuse me if I don’t participate in awards 🙂
Thanks Tish… I love your work… Keep it up!
Thank you for loving my work, Dr. Y. I’m pretty keen on yours too 🙂 🙂 🙂