I love to write.  I’m struggling to write at the moment though and I think it is because I am on screen so much with work and so missing the sound of human voices that I am making podcasts rather than writing blogs. Instead I am writing letters and a diary in pen and ink on paper, away from a screen.

I remember when I had first finished my PhD that it for the first time became clear that I could, in fact, string 100,000 words together and the one thing that I remember of my viva was that they liked how I wrote!

But then came the battle of finding a voice outside of academia.  I was so used and trained by then to reference every single thing I said, to justify my standpoint and to give credit to the thinking of others (which I absolutely stand by still).  It was hard to find my voice.  When I look back on my earliest blogs which go back now to 2012, I can see that part of my aging has been a strengthening of my voice and sense of self.

So having had this as my experience, it was lovely to connect with Rhian Taylor whose path in so many ways is similar.  A practitioner, turned academic, turned writer and back to practitioner again.  Rhian has based her young adult novel ‘Fosterboy’ on her social work experience of working with young people and the complexity of their individual needs and a system which is struggling to meet them.

For both of us books have framed our world, we were both talking with full bookshelves behind us as we talked on Zoom.  I’m re-reading Little Women and I loved the Famous Five and Jo and George were role models for me for the kind of woman/girl I could not see but wanted to be.

Words are powerful and stories speak to our souls as well as our minds and it is for this reason that we need to share our stories and amplify the voices of those who are too quiet or disempowered to speak.

Rhian is a social worker and an academic. Her love of writing and passion for social issues and change led her to write the young adult novel Fosterboy. In the podcast we talked about how she created her characters and her journey into the publishing world.

You can purchase Fosterboy here: https://tinyurl.com/y373hvgr

And https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Fosterboy-by-Rhian-Taylor-author/9781838162023

Other links are:

https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2020/11/13/challenges-rewards-depicting-social-work-fiction/

https://www.easyyoke.org/new-publications/

Books we mentioned in the conversation included: The Conscious Parent- Dr Shefali Tsabury The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd Tara Mohr- Playing Big Women’s Ways of Knowing- Mary Belenky