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Introducing 2021 Author Janet H Swinney and ‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’.

Janet H Swinney is a writer with working class roots in the North-East of England, who is dedicated to representing this region in her work. The titular story of ‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’ begins with a compelling monologue infused with the vocabulary and dialect of the North-East; we are immediately drawn into the characters’ world.

Are ye listening, Esme? Not the old place with man and bairns, and the bedrooms upstairs and the push bike in the yard. Naw, here. Where everything’s downstairs, and the lavatory’s indoors and every surface is covered in handles and dangling with cords. Here, not long after I’ve got up, still in the winceyette, hairnet on, with the denture still sunk in the Steradent… the blare of a horn.
- From ‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’

In other stories, we are similarly given a taste of what it is to be part of the culture and history of the North-East of England. In 'Black Boy Winnings', for example, Swinney explores the unforgiving and seemingly inescapable life of a coal miner and his family.

Janet H Swinney has worked as an education inspector and independent consultant. She has also written articles for The Observer Scotland, The Times, The Guardian, and The Times Educational Supplement. In 2008 she was a runner-up in The Guardian’s International Development Journalism Competition. She has been featured by various publications, online journals and anthologies, including: the Bombay Review, Out of Print, the Lakeside International Review of Literature and Arts, Flamingo Land, The Word Factory, Circaidy Gregory Press and Earlyworks Press. Her story ‘The Map of Bihar’ was nominated for the Eric Hoffer price in 2012 and was published in Best New Writing 2013. She was runner-up for the London Short Story Prize in 2014 and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2019. She has recently had a story broadcast on Maghull Radio, Merseyside.

If you are interested in reviewing Janet's collection or booking her for a Festival performance, please contact Isabelle Kenyon via

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