Barrowford poet turned grief into prize writing

Kathryn Lund and her mum Anne who died of cancer at the age of 55. Kathryn turned to poetry to help her through the trauma

Kathryn Lund and her mum Anne who died of cancer at the age of 55. Kathryn turned to poetry to help her through the trauma

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

A FORMER teacher who used her writing talents to cope with the sudden death of her mum has become a prize-winning author.

Kathryn Lund, 29, from Barrowford, was left devastated when her mum Anne died from a rare form of bile duct cancer at the age of 55, just six weeks after being diagnosed.

Her death in 2009 left Kathryn struggling to process her emotions, and she started writing poetry as a way of expressing her thoughts.

Many of the poems focused on her mum’s final few weeks at home under the care of Macmillan nurse Rose Hind, from Fence, who works for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Kathryn, whose mum was a teacher at St Paul’s CofE School, Nelson, was previously working as a supply teacher in various schools in Blackburn and Nelson, but quit after her mum’s death as pursuing a teaching career would be ‘too painful’.She instead focused on her writing and has since had poems published in several anthologies including Christmas Poems, A Little Healing Book of Poems and the forthcoming Poem on A Postcard and In Memoriam.

She also won the 2012 Grace Dieu Short Story Prize for her story ‘The Music Box’, and was the competition’s 2013 judge.

She is now about to start an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University.

Kathryn, whose dad Graham lives in Barnoldswick Road, Barrowford, said of her mum’s death: “I have written 20 poems about the experience over the last five years and it is still incredibly painful but I know mum would be proud of me for following my dream of becoming a writer. I stopped writing when I went to university and never considered that I could make a career out of it.

“But when someone dies you realise that anything can happen so you have nothing to lose by trying something out.

“It was thanks to our Macmillan nurse Rose that mum was able to die at home and that was very important to us all. She was always very caring and mum thought a lot of her.

“In one of my poems, ‘The Whole New Way of Counting’ I talk about the nurses always remembering to say mum’s name, even when she was beyond hearing them. The nurses are the ‘kind voices’ I describe.”

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