Writer

Writing and the written word is in my bones; always has, always will be. It’s a different experience from the spoken word. The nice thing is that one informs the other and vice versa.

I have written Surrey Folk Tales for the History Press published in 2013. The illustrations are by Lawrence Heath and can be seen on his website!

Dan Keding said “Surrey Folk Tales: United Kingdom series has another star in its expanding books on the regional folk tales of Great Britain. Janet Dowling has brought together a wonderful collection of stories from Surrey that are sure to please both lovers of history and folklore and storytellers.”

Next on the horizon for me is researching material for Devon Ghost Tales, a book to send shivers down your spine. It’s a slow process, as I can’t work on it after dark because I manage to scare myself! Mind you, looking in a mirror does that! Devon Ghost Tales will be published by the History Press in October 2018.

I’ve found it very interesting to collect folk tales from the local community, and develop them for my oral storytelling repertoire. It’s very challenging to write down a story that you only know through your own telling. The relationship between oral storytelling and the spoken word is very fluid- after all it is not a recitation, where words are in a fixed order.

Working with communities to find their stories, and helping them write them down is something that stimulates and surprises. You can see more about this topic on the Community Storytelling page.

I have run workshops to develop writing skills using different oral storytelling techniques and this has proved effective with mainstream writers as well as people with special needs.

I have an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton university (where I specialised in the representation of mental illness in children’s literature), and an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University (where I specialised in exploring modern approaches to fairy tales and folklore in radio plays, short stories and am now writing a novel).