Writers of Tunbridge Wells Project



Project proposal by Linda Chamberlain


Tunbridge Wells has a strong literary heritage – so I’m proposing a book on its writers, past and present.

A short chapter (length to be discussed) will be devoted to each subject and handled individually by one of our writers. In other words, it is up to you whether you write factually, such as a biography, or imaginatively, so long as it’s informative and accurate. It could be a critical work that assesses their importance or a fun piece that entertains but the local angle will help make it unique.

Contemporary subjects could be interviewed and historical figures researched to see if we can unearth interesting influences from the locality. For example – did Jo Brand hate her TWGGS uniform? Did Thackeray argue with Dickens as they sampled the waters? The two were friends and rivals and Thackeray’s application to illustrate the Pickwick Papers was turned down. Let’s find out more!

Where did our writers spend their time? Who were their influences and did this genteel town inspire or irritate them?

I have listed some possible subjects below – or find one or two of your own. I hope we could write about a dozen or more people to make an interesting book possibly with photos. [I have indicted the ‘taken’ subjects below and will try to keep this updated as TW writers snap them up]

  • William Makepeace Thackeray (author, Vanity Fair) – contemporary of Dickens, lived in TW. His house is now a restaurant. Angela now doing this one
  • Andy Zaltman (comic and writer).
  • Horace Smith (wrote parody and novels). Died in TW 1849.
  • Tim Pears (author of novels on social issues). Born in TW 1956.
  • Chris McCooey (author of lots of local books such as Kent Scandals). Born TW 1949.
  • Keith Douglas (war poet). Died 1944 aged 24. – Alison interested in doing this one.
  • Richard Cumberland-Sossidge (dramatist). Lived in TW. Died 1811. – Kate (Sims) has snapped him up
  • Jo Brand (comic and writer, sit com, books). Went to Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar. Linda’s (I think?)
  • Libby Purves (broadcaster, novelist). Went to Beechwood Sacred Heart School in TW.
  • Victoria Hislop (author, The Island). Went to school in Tonbridge and said in recent BBC interview that she would love to have seen the Pantiles in Victorian times. Rosie has bookmarked this.
  • Vita Sackville West (writer). Lived in Sissinghurst – Is it near enough? Chris has bagged this one
  • Shane McGowan (lyricist). Karen keen to do this one.
  • Sarah Grand (suffragette and feminist writer) Carolyn has bagsied this
  • Rachel Beer (first ever female Fleet St editor) This one is Kate’s (Price! What is it with Kates in this group?!)
  • E. M. Forster (Novelist) Jess (M) doing this one.

Obviously the writer of each chapter would have a byline and possible reference to latest book/website but otherwise there should be no obvious self promotion.


UPDATE:  the Writers of Tunbridge Wells Project is now pretty much in the bag. Final proofreading and editing is currently underway and the completed e-book is scheduled for publication in Jan/Feb 2015. It will, along with all other Tunbridge Wells Writers collections, be available as a FREE download from our Smashwords page in all popular e-reader formats.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



%d bloggers like this: