If you’ve read my Author Bio, or my About page, you’ll know that I grew up in Coventry, England. My family have deep ties to the City and most of them still live there, so I visit often. When I returned to the UK in 2012, I spent my first six months back in the country living there again, only moving away due to my husband’s work. It’s a place that holds a lot of happy memories for me.
Coventry is also the real-world setting for my Ambeth books. Alma lives on my old street, and the Gate of Oak is in the Memorial Park, a place that has always held magic for me. It is telling that, when I sat down to write my first book, Coventry was the inspiration and starting point. It is a city I still hold close to my heart.
So, when Coventry was named 2021 UK City of Culture this past week, I was thrilled! I tweeted out my congratulations, adding that I thought it a well-deserved win. Less than an hour later, through the strange workings of Twitter, The Guardian newspaper had contacted me. Would I like to write a piece about the city and why I love it, they asked. Would I? I jumped at the chance, even though they needed it done that afternoon and I was at work – there was no way I was missing this opportunity.
I was given 700 words and a short brief – truly, I could have written double that amount – and feel I only touched on the many layers of history and culture the city holds. The article was approved, and is now live on the Guardian site, less than 24 hours after my original tweet. (If you’d like to read it, click here)
And that’s it! A wonderful, and quite unexpected, start to my weekend 🙂 Wishing you all a great weekend wherever you are and, #happywriting.
wow – this is so amazing, beautiful, elegance – like a paradise!!!
Thank you! It is a lovely place, definitely 🙂
Well done, Helen! 🙂
Thanks, Stu! 🙂
Excellent piece, Helen. Well done!
Thanks so much, Mick! 🙂
Great piece, Helen, I learned things there I had no idea about, and it made me smile as I happen to be reading an old book just now (King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett) that features Godiva 😀
Thanks, Deb 🙂 It was a pleasure to write, so I’m really pleased you enjoyed it. I could have written double, easily – so many stories in that city. I think it’s going to be an interesting four years 🙂
Wow, that is so cool, from Tweet to published in 24 hours! Great piece – I know only a little about Coventry, but it will certainly be on my itinerary the next time I visit the UK.
Thanks Trent – it certainly happened very quickly! I hope you do get to visit Coventry, it’s an interesting place, and so much history in the area too 🙂
That’s fabulous, Helen 🙂
Thanks, Sue 🙂
Fabulous article Helen! I can now say my friend writes for the Guardian – sigh!
Thanks, Lucy! My head is still spinning from how quickly it happens. Definitely a thrill, though 🙂
What a wonderful tribute. 😀 … and talk about a validation of what you do in the world making a difference! 😀
Nice piece Helen…the power of the Net from reading it ….to Ambeth….The Gate of Oak in the War Memorial Park..small world we walk our dogs through it many times with know anything about Ambeth….but I am know ordering the books to start the journey to Ambeth…👍👍
Hi Robert! Thank you so much 🙂 It is a small world sometimes, isn’t it? Thanks so much for ordering my books – I hope you enjoy them and I think you might recognise quite a few places in the pages. Happy weekend to you 🙂
Wonderful news Helen, so pleased for you. A most uplifting start to the weekend. 🙂 x
Thanks, Marjorie! It was quite a surprise, and a nice little writerly boost, definitely 🙂
Congrats Helen! The Guardian is a big deal and you definitely deserve it! 🙂
Thanks, Kristin! I was so pleased to have the opportunity 🙂
Helen, congrats on the article and the win for Coventry!!
Thanks so much, Amy! 🙂
Congratulations, Helen! And what a wonderful opportunity for you. ❤ Will go read the article.
Thanks so much, Sarah! It’s been a great experience 🙂 Hope you like the article x
Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
A huge congratulations to Helen over at Journey to Ambeth who recently had an article featured in The Guardian! Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over and say hello!
Thanks so much for sharing, Suzie 🙂 xx
Congratulations Helen. How wonderful!
Thanks so much, Maja! 🙂
Wow, you must be bursting with pride! I can feel the excitement and send well-deserved cheers your way. 🙂
I was totally thrilled, and still can’t quite believe it 🙂 Thanks so much, Annette x
I suppose the question would be, “why wouldn’t they chose a person who has such a love for the place and who excels in writing”, well done Helen.
Thanks so much, Suzanne! 🙂
Wow, congratulations,, Helen 🙂
Thanks, Judy! 🙂
I was happy at that news too. I spent 4 years at University in Coventry – back in the ‘90s, I think winning city of Culture will be very good for everyone there.
I do too – I’m very excited to see what the next four years hold for Coventry 🙂