Julia Darling

Julia Darling, co-founder of Diamond Twig, died on Wednesday 13th April 2005.

Ellen Phethean writes:

Many of you will have followed her extraordinary journey on her web log: her cancer, its ups and downs, and her refusal to lead the life of an invalid, but to be active and creative every moment she had. Julia was never dying, she was always living until she slipped out to go to a different party.

Julia Darling was an ex-Poetry Virgin, and co-founded Diamond Twig Books with Ellen Phethean. "We started the press in order to publish the work of The Poetry Virgins, but it quickly became more of a mission. We love publishing women writers who deserve a wider readership, and who write about their lives in a way that touches us all. At first we published poets, but now we also publish fiction, and we are about to begin a play series too."

She wrote poetry, fiction and plays for stage and radio. She also got involved in all kinds of projects, working with other artists and generally playing with words. She lived in Newcastle upon Tyne for the last twenty years, earning her living as a writer and sometimes teaching creative writing. She wrote in a room in the English School at the University of Newcastle, where she was an 'associate fellow' for the Royal Literary Fund. In 2003 she became the second winner of the Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award, the UK's most valuable literary prize.

Some of Julia's poems appear on this web site: her early poem Ancestry was Diamond Twig's Poem of the Month for May 2005, her Insomnia was the Poem of September 2006, and her A happy childhood appeared in March 2008. Other people continue to write about Julia: Linda France's Last Portrait was Poem of the Month for June 2005, Jackie Kay's Darling (the title poem of her recent collection) appeared in December 2006, and Degna Stone's Postcard in July 2009.

Ten years on, we hosted a further collection of poems Inspired by Julia - and in May 2018, Jackie Kay again provided our Poem of the Month with Hereafter Julia.

Julia's own website remains at www.juliadarling.co.uk.