WORD! Q & A with Carolyn Turner

  • Thu, Nov 30, 2023

  • This Thursday, 30.11.23 - writer and performer Carolyn Turner comes to WORD! to headline our access and (dis)ability themed special. WORD!  caught up with her in advance...

    WORD!: How did you first get in to writing and poetry?

    Carolyn: I have always loved books and poetry from quite a young age. I think as a child I had so many solid toys rather than virtual ones, which i think children today have. My world was dolls, teddies, dolls houses etc. with very little television being watched. I think I’ve always invented stories. At secondary school I started to really enjoy English literature  but then had to choose between the arts and the sciences. 

    WORD!: Prior to practicing seriously as a writer you had a career in nursing. Has this earlier experience influenced your writing in any way? 

    Carolyn: Absolutely! I had a fantastic experience working as I nurse. The variety of experiences you gather is probably greater than most professions. I experienced births, death and a lot of drama working in the operating theatre . I met a lot of amazing people, professionals and patients that have shaped me and made me a better person.

    WORD!: Do you feel your experience of disability influences your work? 

    Carolyn: I believe it has. I now straddle two worlds in respect of understanding the medical side and its limitations but also the world of living with a disability and how you can sometimes feel your horizons are closing in . You feel you are constantly swimming against the tide.  

    WORD!: What advice might you give to other writer and performers trying to develop their writing or artistic practice?

    Carolyn: To just write! To not get bogged down with worrying if the grammar is correct or that other people might not like it. I don’t feel I’m writing for others but writing for myself and if others like it, well that’s a bonus. 

    WORD!: Do you have any tips for motivating yourself to write? How do you keep going?

    I am writing my first novel and started it at the beginning of the year! I’m nowhere near finishing but refuse to put too much pressure on myself. As the days get colder and shorter I will make an effort to write again . I have been told by a publisher that the average time to write a novel is 5 years so I don’t have too much to worry about. With my poetry I often get prompts from reading novels, listening to the World Service in the middle of the night, when I’m unable to sleep and songs. Sometimes it’s as simple as one word. I write it down before it evaporates as my memory isn’t great. I co-run a creative writing group and do most of the planning for that which helps me to focus. 

    WORD!: What are you reading at the moment?

    The novel I have just finished yesterday was ‘Wish You Were There’ by Jodi Picoult and the novel I’m just about to start is 'Where The Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owen’s. 

    Carolyn will headline WORD! at Attenborough Arts Centre on Thursday 30th November 2023. To book tickets, ring the box office on 0116 252 24 55 or online via Attenborough Arts Centre's website.