7th May | Parachutes, Patchwork and Poppies

20150509_232148The intriguing title on the poster for our May meeting encapsulated the names of the speaker’s three novels, and Liz Trenow’s talk about her life as a writer proved equally fascinating.

Liz was born and brought up in Sudbury, in the house next to the mill where her father followed the family business of silk weaving, producing silk for top-end fashion houses and Royal commissions. Although Liz had holiday jobs in the mill, she always wanted to write.

She found her calling in journalism, working on regional and national newspapers, and then on radio and television news. After this she worked for Suffolk County Council in the Careers Service, until being made redundant.

She returned to the mill, and began to take an interest in the history of silk weaving, and the company which had been started by her family in London in the 18th century.

She questioned her father about his working life, and he revealed that during the Second World War the mill produced silk for parachutes, and it was that fact – together with his other wartime memories – that inspired Liz to begin writing. As well as parachutes, she discovered that what kept the mill going in wartime was producing silk for surgical dressings and electrical insulation.

An idea for a novel began to form in Liz’s mind, and after her retirement from full-time work she took an MA degree in Creative Writing at City University in London. It was here she began to write her first novel, “The Last Telegram”.

She has since written 3 more novels “The Forgotten Seamstress”, “The Poppy Factory” and “The Masterpiece”, which she has only recently finished.

Her books have been inspired by strong connections with either war or the silk industry, and Liz has researched thoroughly the backgrounds behind her stories.

Her talk was lively and full of interest, and a number of us bought copies of her books at the end of an absorbing evening.

Future events for Capel Ladies include a visit to the Suffolk Punch Stud, a theatre trip, our Summer Social and a day trip to Norfolk Lavender.

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