Julia Casterton RIP

The poet Julia Casterton died on Saturday, after a short illness, as a result of a long standing blood disorder. Julia was a fine poet, a remarkable tutor of Creative Writing and a lovely woman. She wrote the landmark ‘Creative Writing: A Practical Guide’, still one of the best books on the subject. I first met her in 1990, when I discovered that she had been largely responsible for the acceptance of my first published story in Ambit Magazine, fighting for its controversial content the previous year. She remained an editor at Ambit and was always a generous teacher and editor. Perhaps these were reasons why her only full length collection was long coming. ‘The Doves Of Finisterre’ is a powerful, intelligent, wide ranging book, one where every poem counts, and it won the Jerwood Prize for a first collection. I renewed my acquaintance with Julia when she became the external examiner on the Creative Writing M.A. course that I run. Despite frequent illness, she was a feisty, optimistic woman, an original thinker, often to be seen in leather jacket and shades. She had more than a touch of the rock star about her. Julia was a tough but constructive critic, always very supportive of the course, and she became a friend. She enjoyed coming back to Nottingham, her home town, where her father and one of her younger sisters still live. Julia was only 54 and will be greatly missed by her family and many friends.

Guardian obituary, Nottingham Evening Post obituary, London writers’ tributes, Baroque in Hackney

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