I've been an avid fan of Jenny Twist's stories for a number of years, so, not surprisingly, have also come across her non-fiction writing on various blogs. She is an extremely talented author with an often wicked and very British sense of humour that really appeals to me and I never tire of reading her work.
It was therefore a real delight just before Christmas to find this collection of essays and articles reflecting on life, people, places and practically everything else. Even though I've read some of them before, the re-reading was nonetheless a great treat. In fact, they are probably better in the re-reading because you can appreciate her wit and style more. It would be impossible to have favourites, but the essays on Spain and in particular the three articles on the Andalusian villages so beloved of the author touched me so powerfully that a visit to them is now high on my bucket list. I defy anyone to read them and not feel themselves transported in spirit and long to make the experience physical.
But there is so much more in this diverse collection. Whether she's describing sex education in the (I'm guessing here) early sixties, the generic female inability to read maps, grammar usage and abusage or the journey to publishing success, her penmanship and humour shine through and make them all such a pleasure to read. On a more serious note, she provokes topical debate over the gun culture in America and attitudes to guns and violence in Britain. She explores the portrayal of evil in modern fiction and opens her doors and her heart to give us some insights into her own life and struggles, which have provided inspiration for her many stories.
And of course, ghosts (and the occasional vampire) infiltrate the pages! A great horror writer, Twist recounts her own chilling experiences, some of which inspired her stories, while others lie in wait ready to inhabit stories yet-to-come.
An Open Letter to Stephen King and Other Essays makes engrossing reading whether you prefer factual writing or fiction. It is well worth the read at any time of the year, but I couldn't wait and devoured it immediately. It certainly was one of my favourite books over the Christmas season and well worth dusting off all five cute cats for.
An Open Letter to Stephen King and Other Essays can be purchased from
About the author:
Author Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
Jenny's other published works include: Domingo's Angel, All in the Mind, Away With the Fairies, The Mantequero series, Take One At Bedtime, Bedtime Shadows (with Tara Fox Hall) and dozens of short stories.