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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Childhood In Leeds - A Daily Mail Feature


Barbara Taylor Bradford: 'I was an only child, an only grandchild and only niece, so I was much treasured'

By DEANY JUDD
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 8th April 2011

Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE,  lives in New York with her husband Bob. She has sold more than 82 million books.

Here I am at six as a fairy in the school play at Christ Church Primary in Upper Armley, near Leeds. It encapsulates so much about my childhood. 
My parents had a son called Vivien who died of meningitis before I was born and my arrival was most welcome. Not only was I an only child, I was an only grandchild and only niece, so I was much treasured, as this photo shows.
Six-year-old fairy: 'My mother made my fairy costume, I remember being terribly proud of it'
Six-year-old fairy: 'My mother made my fairy costume, I remember being terribly proud of it'
My mother took great care of me and I was always beautifully groomed. She made my fairy costume. I remember being terribly proud of it and my mother telling me to stand still while she pinned and fitted it. My father painted the tap shoes gold. 
The plays are my strongest memories of my time at school – I adored being in them and they sparked my life-long interest in drama. I was a member of Leeds Amateur Dramatic Society for years. I was quite good and if I hadn’t been a writer I would have been an actress.
Although my school teachers were great, I would credit my mother Freda’s influence far more. She was a former children’s nurse and a voracious reader. She introduced me to books at the age of four.
 
When I was ten I wrote a story and she sent it to a children’s magazine. I got a postal order for ten shillings and my first byline. I then announced I was going to be a writer.
Then I moved to Northcote Secondary School in Armley. We wore a green uniform with a Panama hat in the summer. I was very happy there. I remember a kind teacher called Mrs Cox who nurtured my writing.
Vivid imagination: 'I said to my husband Bob recently that when I grew up in Yorkshire it was always sunny, and he said,
Vivid imagination: 'I said to my husband Bob recently that when I grew up in Yorkshire it was always sunny, and he said, "Barbara, I'm sure it wasn't, it was just you were so happy"'
She said I had a vivid imagination. I always tell people who want to be writers, ‘You’ll need one because it’s all made up!’
By 15 I knew I couldn’t expect to write a novel until I had lived a bit, so I decided to be a journalist and got a job in the typists’ pool at the Yorkshire Evening Post. In the evenings I wrote news stories and one day I plucked up the courage to drop a couple onto the sub-editor’s desk.
Lo and behold he used them! It came as a shock to discover they were written by a typist. The editor asked if I wanted to be a cub reporter and that was that. Initially the men in the newsroom weren’t too happy because they had to watch their language but we were soon friends.
Before long I turned my hand to fiction and never looked back. I’m so glad my parents lived to see my books published.
I said to my husband Bob recently that when I grew up in Yorkshire it was always sunny, and he said, ‘Barbara, I’m sure it wasn’t, it was just you were so happy.’ He is absolutely right, I had a wonderful childhood.
Playing The Game by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Harper Collins, is out now, £14.99.



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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely LOVE your writing! I generally stick to thrillers: Dean Koontz, Steven King, etc. Yet You manage to grab hold of another side of me. The historical stories in particular, but even your contemporary style, pull me in with the 1st paragraph & keep me captivated until the end. All young women should read "A Woman of Substance" before beginning their own lives of independence.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts!
    Blessings & Light!!
    K.L., from IL/USA

    ReplyDelete