Judith Spelman

journalist and author

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I was born in the Midlands but I grew up in south Devon. From the time I was a small

child and before I could actually read or write I was making up poems and stories in my

head. This was mostly at night because I could never get to sleep (and it is still the same). I

would make up stories and my mother would write them down when she came upstairs to tuck me in. I don’t know what happened to them but I can find only one short poem.


English was my best subject at school and even then, when odd events happened, I would put them into verse – or doggerel. I wanted to work on the local paper when I left school but oh, no! my mother did not approve and I had to go and learn to be a teacher. In those days you did as your parents told you. I became a teacher and guess what? I started writing for educational magazines in my spare time!


I went to Montreal with my husband and baby son where we spent eight years. While I was there I got a job teaching at Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School for Young Ladies. It was a very proper and respectable establishment. I reckon I was hired for the job because I spoke English English and not Canadian or American English. I left teaching and for a short while worked as an assistant and researcher to the literary editor of the Montreal Star. He was a brilliant teacher and gave me a good grounding in journalism.


Life moved on and I came back to England with my son, first working for David & Charles as their ‘girl in London’ doing everything from publicity to selling rights and working as a PA to the chairman, David St John Thomas.  That lovely job came to an end and I started working for MMS Publications who published advertising free sheets in Hertfordshire and Essex. I provided editorial copy to fill spaces and at one stage was in editorial charge of five papers using three other journalists and two photographers.




When David St John Thomas introduced Writers News he asked me to do the lead interview. About the same time I was asked to produce a house journal, Connection, for The Weetabix Food Company. It was a family-owned firm when I started and ‘family’ seemed to include all the employees. When I left after 25 years, the company had been bought by venture capitalists.  How things changed! But it was a job I loved doing.


In 2011, I met Roger Johnson whose background is in Public Relations and Marketing.  Together we started Sherborne Literary Society which gives members discounts on books from independent booksellers in the town and discounts on events.  Through the Society we began the hugely successful Sherborne Literary Festival that over the years has gone from strength. Roger had to step down but I continued, first becoming Chairman of the Literary Society and then Festival Director.  


I am concentrating on writing these days. I’d like to do another book and I have pitched ideas to publishers but I am busy with short features.  Between writing deadlines I organise lunches for members of the Society of Authors who live in the Southwest and I am an Ambassador for the Dorset Community Foundation.


about me

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“I write fiction, non-fiction, journalism – or in my diary. Words have always fascinated me!”