After attending a Quaker school, Tessa West trained to be a teacher, though soon found herself working in prisons rather than in schools. A Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship enabled her to study prisons in Scandinavia. This was followed by a Cropwood Fellowship at Cambridge University. She also spent a term at the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Department at the United Nations in Vienna and later served as an Independent Member of the Parole Board. Since her retirement she has focused on writing, both fiction and non-fiction. While writing her first biography, The Curious Mr Howard, she was awarded an Arthur Welton grant. Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw: Single-minded philanthropist is her second biography. Tessa writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Please contact Tessa if you are interested in booking her to give a talk about her writing.
Interviews about Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw
On 9 Feb Tessa introduced her biography on Woman’s Hour. Listen to the interview here.
“She was obviously quite a feisty young woman, she lied about her age to join the FANYs … She did seem to leave her own foundation under a bit of a cloud .. that was a very sad end for her and all the work that she had done … when you look back at her whole life what drove that ferocious energy that she had?”
Jenni Murray, BBC Woman’s Hour Presenter
Tessa said “Its a fascinating story. I feel the richer for spending a couple of years writing and researching it and definitely … my opinion of her has gone up when I’ve seen the stuff she has done …people think very warmly of her … and want to ensure the legend remains.” Lesley responded “You’ve done your bit for making sure the legend remains”.
Listen to Tessa’s interview on BBC Radio Suffolk with Lesley Dolphin here.
Tessa has also written a number of other books: biography, novels and poetry. Her four stand-alone novels are set in East Anglia, where she lives. For example, The Reed Flute is set along the River Yare, and most of As Best We Can takes place near Bury St Edmunds. To read more about her works visit her website.