I was born and brought up on the Somerset Levels, the setting for my first novel, The Sweet Track, published in 2007 by Flambard Press.

I left Somerset at eighteen for  U.E.A, and a degree in the History of Art, then lived in London where I taught in Greenwich and Deptford and did a year at Goldsmith’s before moving north.

I travelled in India, Kashmir and Nepal for a while and when I came back I started work as a temporary teacher in a women’s prison HMP Low Newton, on the outskirts of Durham city.  I met Writer-in-Residence Wendy Robertson here and that’s when I began writing. Until then I had no thoughts of being a writer.

In 2003 I won a Northern Promise Award, from New Writing North.

When the children were up and leaving home, I finally left my job in order to write. I was by this time a Prison Governor with responsibity for learning and skills development. I hadn’t meant to stay at Low Newton for so long but almost from the start I became deeply involved with the women and their lives – read more here and in many ways that never leaves me. I see it creep in again and again, often through the back door, into what I write.






  1. Just met you at NWC this evening. Enjoyed listening to you and just purchased the Kindle version of The Orchid House to add to my ever expanding to read list – although it might queue jump a few!

    • avril

      February 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Great to meet you too David and good luck with your publishing venture! Thanks for buying The Orchid House – hope you enjoy it.


  2. Avril,

    I have searched high and low for your email address could you email me ?

    My email address is patricia_mcclelland@yahoo.co.uk

    Kind Regards

  3. Hi Avril

    nice to see you in The Northern Echo and well done on your award.

    hope you and your family are well

    kind regards

    Imelda :)

    • avril

      January 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you Imelda – lovely to hear from you – we are all well – and I hope you and yours are too, love Avril

  4. Just caught up with this. Very interesting to see it put together like this. w

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