Interview with Barbara Higham, winner of the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize (prose category)

I love a good story – of course! – and some of the most interesting ones are about writers. So I thought it would be a good idea to interview the winners of the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize with a view to learning more about them and also to (hopefully) encourage more of you wonderfully creative folk to enter this year’s competition (to be launched September of this year). First we will hear from Barbara Higham, the winner of the prose category.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a dreamer who is approaching 50, dwelling on those hands of time. A mother of three: Felix (almost 16), Edgar (12) and Amelia (8). I am managing editor of Breastfeeding Today magazine for La Leche League International and have worked in LLL publications since becoming a Leader in 2004. I work in a school part time with a child on the autistic spectrum and have just begun a job in a nursery and pre-school one day a week. Before I had children, I read German language and literature at Manchester uni, then worked as a librarian, qualified as a solicitor, sold children’s books in the world’s biggest bookshop and worked in legal publishing.

2. How, when and why did you first start writing?

As a young child in notebooks. I liked writing stories and poems. Then diaries and letters.

3. How often do you write?

I correspond with friends by email daily. I’ve written a few articles in magazines and a few stories that I haven’t shared with anybody.

4. What made you decide to enter the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize?

Teika suggested it. I had just received a rejection from a magazine to which I’d sent ‘Dusty Bluebells’ and didn’t have time to write anything else.

5. How did it feel when you’d heard that you’d won?

Flabbergasted and thrilled. A real lift.

6. Can you tell us a little about your winning piece of writing?

I think the piece speaks for itself.

7. Any future writing plans?

I enjoy writing but am not at all sure anyone else might want to read what I’d write.

8. Any tips for writers?

I wouldn’t have the audacity!

Barbara’s winning piece ‘Going Back or Dusty Bluebells’ will first be published in the summer issue of Juno (out June 2014) and then in the 2013 Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize Anthology which is to be published this September.