A Dress for Kathleen – Heather Richardson
‘Every family has shadow people, the ones who slipped out of the story too soon, leaving a blank space where they should have been. In my father’s family that person was his sister Kathleen.’
So begins Heather Richardson’s astonishing fragmentary celebration of her aunt, Kathleen Hutchinson, whose life was cut tragically short aged just 14. It is the early days of WW2 and Kathleen has just left school to start her first job at a linen mill. But this dark and cold December night she doesn’t make it home.
Originally stitched into the fabric of a dress, Kathleen’s life is presented here as a book for the first time. In the process, Heather Richardson also tells the stories of Kathleen’s parents and their lives together in rural Northern Ireland in the first half of the 20th Century.
A Dress For Kathleen is a labour of love from niece to the aunt she never met. Every sentence sparkles. Heather Richardson’s masterpiece is a poetic portrait in prose and one of the finest books you will read this year.
Watch BBC feature on Heather Richardson’s project
Praise for A Dress for Kathleen
‘An utterly gorgeous and beautifully imagined poetic family history. A Dress for Kathleen unflinchingly tells of hard lives blighted by war and poverty, but blessed by brave and unquenchable hopes.’
Sarah Bower, author of Lines and Shadows
About the Author
Heather Richardson grew up in Belfast. She escaped to England at 18, but after a decade was lured back home. After a non-literary career that began with bus driving in Leicester and ended as Sales and Marketing Director of a pharmaceutical distributor, she finally discovered academia and is now Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Open University. She has published two historical novels, Magdeburg (2010) and Doubting Thomas (2017), and her short fiction and poetry has been published in journals in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
Paperback ISBN: 9781912665297
Ebook ISBN: 9781912665303
Published by Story Machine
Publication Date: 07/09/2023
Format: Paperback Original and Ebook
Jacket design: Natty Peterkin
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