Jane Shuttleworth has sent me a copy of a letter she received from Rosemary Sutcliff when she was younger.
I grew up in Dorchester, under the ramparts of Maiden Castle. It is an area steeped in Roman and Celtic culture, and Rosemary Sutcliff’s wonderful novels brought that world to life for me. I particularly loved the vividness of her characters, and the idea that these boys and girls from the darkest past were probably not really so different to us after all – they were all so human.
I think my mother suggested that I should write to her, and I can’t remember what I wrote, but I know I didn’t really expect such a busy author to reply – I wasn’t confident that my note would even get past the publisher’s office to which I sent it. When I received this lovely handwritten reply from her, I was overjoyed. It was such an honest letter too – admitting that sometimes she hated her characters gave me a little glimpse into the life of an author.
Posted with permission of Jane Shuttleworth
Rosemary received many letters from readers, and replied to every one, in this distinctive spidery handwriting. (If any readers here also have letters or know of people who do, I would be delighted to be emailed a copy, and to know whether or not you would be happy also to have the letter(s) posted here).