About me, the director's cut

Louise Tondeur in 2017

I did a Drama degree at The University of East Anglia in Norwich and a PGCE at Middlesex and taught Drama for a while. Then I returned to UEA to do a Creative Writing MA, winning the Curtis Brown bursary, and published two novels with Headline Review called The Water’s Edge and The Haven Home for Delinquent Girls.

Then I did a PhD on hair at Reading University, travelled round the world, became a Creative Writing lecturer, and started a family, while publishing mainly poetry and nonfiction. While I was on maternity leave, I wrote a book about breaking down your goals into manageable steps, called the Small Steps Guide.

In 2017, I left my full-time job as Principal Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton to focus on my writing and a year later I published my first short story collection, Unusual Places, which I wrote ‘live’ in quirky venues, mainly in London.

I am currently working on a series of crime novels set in Norfolk / Suffolk border country where my grandparents lived for decades and where my grandpa was a local minister. My family's religion has had a big impact on me.

I was born in Dorset and lived in Bournemouth from age 5, where I grew up in self-catering holiday flatlets – I wrote about the experience in my first novel – but I spent a long time living in London, with brief stints in Norwich and Cambridge, where a trip to Ely to visit a former home for unmarried mothers inspired my second novel. I tend to think of Bournemouth, Norwich and North London as home in different ways. I enjoy writing about unusual buildings or places. Until fairly recently, I almost always started with a rundown or disused or otherwise interesting building, even if the writing eventually went in a new direction.

I've been a life-long teacher and have twice been nominated for a National Teaching Award. I have taught Drama and Creative Writing in a variety of different settings, from schools in Norfolk, Kent and London, to a community theatre in Hackney, to a Minnesotan summer camp, and I've been a visiting lecturer at Homerton, Anglia Ruskin, Birkbeck and UEA.

I was born with bilateral hip dysplasia which I talk more about on this page, and I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia in my 40s and have contributed to two anthologies of dyslexic writing, as well as speaking at dyslexic arts events. I consider myself neurodivergent and am still waiting to discover more about that part of my life. I've written more about that here.

I now work part-time for the University of Brighton and the Open University, with occasional freelance work for New Writing South, Creative Future and Jericho Writers. I also run my own online courses and have self-published several teaching and writing guides. I married the love of my life, the poet Sarah Barnsley, as soon as we were allowed to. We live in West Hove near Brighton with our son and two black cats.


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