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Local girl makes good in world of fiction
Many residents of The Lee will remember Catherine and Simon Lloyd, who lived for many years at Yellow Stocks off Crocketts Lane in Lee Common.
All three of their children went to Lee Common school and Catherine worked as a special needs teacher at Chesham Park (now Chiltern Hills Academy). She also played a prominent role at St John the Baptist Church and as a volunteer in the Parish Shop.
Yet in the midst of all this she somehow also found the time to write, using her maiden name of Catherine Chanter, and her novella and short story collection Rooms of the Mind was published in 2011. But now she could reliably be said to have hit the big time with her first full-length work of fiction, The Well, which won the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction in 2013.
The judges described it as “astoundingly assured” and praised the “riveting” story of Ruth Ardingly and her family as having “the pulse of a thriller combined with a futuristic evocation of a Big Brother society”.
Or in the equally eloquent words of an admirer in The Lee: “It is a very spiritual book, combining lots of themes – family relationships, sharing scarce resources, religious cults and the beauty of the English countryside.”
Whatever its secret it has clearly hit the spot because it has already been translated into nine languages and the film rights have apparently already been sold!
The Well was published by Canongate last month and we hope to bring you a review in a later edition of the Newsletter. Meanwhile Catherine will be talking about the book at a series of literary events, details of which you can find on her website at catherinechanter.co.uk.
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