People: Essays and Poems by Susan Hill (1983).

This lively collection of essays and poetry was produced for Oxfam, introduced by Susan Hill,it also contains some most interesting drawings following the chapter by David Piper who was director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge (1967-1973), and first director of the Ashmolean Museum (1973-1985). Other contributors, include Margaret Drabble, Michael Holroyd, P J Kavanagh and Ian McKellen. The latter with feeling writes about his experience of playing Aufidius in Corialanus under the expert and instructive direction of Tyrone Guthrie. This compilation is a splendid read. John Carey has written a charming chapter entitled Mr Perry, who was a Metropolitan Water Inspector on the reservoir at Chiswick. An atmospheric piece written about Carey’s childhood, it conveys how places and persons disappear under the ravages of time. There are several intriguing portraits of schoolmasters and academics and Susan Hill writes a piece about maternal recognition, about her daughter Jessica.Derek Mahon writes a restrained. elegant poem about the previously motorbiking character in An Old Lady now just sits and watches. This can be found at Susan Hill has been much in the news since “The Woman in Black” was adapted for independent television in1989. ( The book, written in 1983 is currently being filmed by Hammer and Alliance Films; apparently this was to be done in 3d, an aspiration now reduced to the usual format. Hill is married to Stanley Wells, the distinguished Shakespearean scholar. Her initial aspirations for the original thriller are recorded at where she states, “I wrote the book in 6 weeks during one summer holiday, every morning while my 5 year old daughter was looked after by a 20 year old medical student, who gave her a wonderful time. It was typed up for me by the student’s sister, then doing a secretarial course but as she couldn`t read my writing, I dictated it onto a tape and she started taking it down. But after a short time, she could only do it if someone else was in the house – she found it just too frightening to work on alone. A good sign if ever there was one !”

Her latest novel is “A Kind Man” and has just had a generally sympathetic review by Sarah Curtis in the TLS. “Howard’s End is on the landing:  A year of reading from home” which came out as a paperback last year is said to be “Conversational and brisk, intimate, insightful and authoritative”. More information on Susan Hill can be found at

Author: penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

One thought on “People: Essays and Poems by Susan Hill (1983).”

  1. I’m not a big fan of Susan Hill’s fiction, but I love almost everything else she’s written including the much maligned ‘Magic Apple Tree’ an account of her life in Oxfordshire. If you’re a literature fan ‘Howard’s End is on the Landing’ is a must read.
    Great blog George – welcome to my world!

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