JANE TAYLOR

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Journalist – Academic – Author

I grew up in Cambridgeshire.   After some years in London (Hammersmith, Ealing, Acton, Twickenham) I now live in Hertfordshire.  I have a doctorate in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia.

I have worked as a reporter and feature writer, mainly in the regional press, and I am voice-trained for radio work as well.  Print journalism remains an abiding passion, but I have now added fiction to my portfolio – see my published novels below.

I have taught journalism in several universities in and around London, and in Surrey and Hertfordshire.  I have published academic papers on journalism, and contributed to a book about it.

NOVELS BY JANE TAYLOR:

‘THE SPINNING HOUSE AFFAIR’, ThunderPoint Publlishing 2021

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Cambridge in the 1890s was a modest provincial town with an important university grafted onto it – resulting in an unhealthy imbalance between men and women.  ‘THE SPINNING HOUSE AFFAIR’, a novel by Jane Taylor, homes in on emerging cracks in these two power bases, during a time when the university was able to establish an old workhouse – the Spinning House – as a place where it could – legally – lock away for three weeks any local woman it suspected of soliciting.

Certainly, the town had a problem with prostitution.  But how long could it get away with ‘protecting’ its young men in this arbitrary and brutal way?

At the start of the novel, the scandal of the Spinning House is already a simmering topic amongst townsfolk, who deplore the foolishness of young girls on the make whilst at the same time resenting the university’s right to by-pass courts of the land and take it upon itself to deal with the problem in its own rather sinister way.

All it took was a period when too many wrongful arrests were being made by over-zealous university proctors patrolling the streets.  This, to some, seemed like the ultimate abuse of power.

The novel follows the challenges facing a variety of young people inadvertently drawn in to the clash between town and gown when it inevitably erupted. The fragility of the relationship has to be tested, once and for all, leading to life-changing results for all those involved.

‘OVER HERE’, ThunderPoint Publishing 2014

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‘A family tale told with the zest of Jane Austen … With sensitive fingers, Taylor probes her creations’ pain, feeling their doubts, impulses and reasonings.  Delicately, she traces their rebellion from the stultifying past and their explorations of new settings and relationships.’ Catholic Herald 15 Jan 2015

‘OVER HERE’ opens on a shabby Liverpool dockside in mid-December, 1921, where a lone nine-year-old boy sits shivering in the rubble.  Will anyone believe him if he says he has just arrived from Canada – alone?  The novel is set in the troubled first half of the 20th century during the era of the great passenger liners.

The destabilising effects of estrangement and displacement – of what it means to be the outsider, the stranger, the one left behind following the devastation of  two world wars – are central themes affecting several members of one family, each of whom must respond to the call of ‘over here’ as it becomes either a cry from afar, a beckoning, or a refuge.  Coursing through each of their journeys as they set out to re-define what ‘homeland’ means is the Atlantic ocean, dividing two continents.  Who will work out how best to answer that call, particularly in the light of one fateful decision, too hastily taken, affecting them all indelibly down the years?

Will it be the vulnerable young Canadian medic preparing for Ypres in Folkestone, the ambitious one-time servant from ‘Laundry town’ Acton in its heyday, or the city girl who arrives in England in the late 1940s, unprepared for life in a remote East Anglian village? And what of that lost boy … ?

 RAVE REVIEWS FOR ‘OVER HERE’ ON AMAZON:

‘I don’t know how she does it … This is first class writing … Nuanced, assured, filled with dramatic irony, this is a gorgeous, sensitive, engaging story told with wit and poetry. Bravo!’

‘Overall a superbly assured debut.  We expect to be hearing more of Ms Taylor!’

‘Jane Taylor has the rare talent of writing about the characters as though she is each of them, and the courage to cast aside the reader’s natural expectation of events as they unfold, so as to tell the story as she really believes it should be told.’

‘My measure of a good book is that when I finish it I feel a certain sense of loss as it will no longer be part of my daily life.  I definitely felt that with this book and highly recommend it.’

‘I love the way Jane Taylor explores and develops her different characters so that they really get under your skin, whether you actually like them or not.  She also vividly describes places and situations, gradually drawing you further into the different strands of a story that weaves through the years, until you finally discover the outcome you have been waiting for.’

 

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