About Gail

About Gail

Poet, freelance writer, editor, reviewer and sometime academic, I’m a born and bred Brummie currently hiding out in the hills and moors of east Cheshire. In a former life, I lectured in medieval and contemporary literature at the universities of Manchester and Birmingham and, in the mists of time, taught English and Drama in a variety of schools.

In 2006 I swapped work drudgery and clock watching for real life and freedom to write. Since then I ran a successful dog walking/training business for a time and have also become a Reiki Master-Teacher. I have a PhD in medieval poetry.




me on fire

10 things you don’t want or need to know about me

1. In another life I’d be River Song (Doctor Who)

2. I adore department stores like Rackhams in Birmingham or the old Lewis’s with its Santa’s Grotto (yes, we’ve snuck in, minus the brat!) and fabulous window displays. I’ve also been known to lose the will to live in John Lewis where I wander aimlessly looking at things I don’t need and can’t afford, in places I’d never normally be, like haberdashery and kitchen appliances (but how I love their handbags and shoes).

3. I’d do almost anything for cake and/or chocolate. Did I mention I’m almost a stone and a half heavier than I was 20 years ago? I wonder how that happened…

4. I like cheap trashy TV: Coronation Street I never miss…Strictly Come Dancing…Grand Designs…cookery programmes, especially Nigella and Nigel but never Jamie Oliver or Heston. You might be relieved to know I gave up X-Factor last week, finally, after years of threatening it, with all that tom-fool, cruel, panto trickery when Carolynne was ‘voted’ off. Stop manipulating us. We’re not total idiots.

5. I’m animal-mad. What? You knew that already? Well I’d just like to ask how come Paul O’ Grady, Martin Clunes, and yes, dull as ditchwater Jennifer Saunders (how, people?) get to do programmes about horses and dogs and I don’t? And I’m not proud of it but  I have been known to elbow small children out of the way so I can feed deer, stroke the pets in the corner, and press against the glass for a better view of the orang-utans in the zoo. Stick to lollipops and plastic dinosaurs you unappreciative little beggars you.

6. I’m Caliban in disguise. I weep at music (well most things actually) and usually know nothing about it.  The strains of Nessun Dorma start me sobbing even though I know little about Italian opera – which I do love – and nothing about the repertoire of Classic FM, which I don’t. I’m always singing (but can’t) and like to dance (ditto). What do I like? Mostly ‘gay’ and dance-funk soundtracks, Roxy Music, Madonna (goddess). Adele gets on my nerves but I like Emeli Sande and Lana del Ray. Lady Gaga? The most awesome woman on the planet. I am a middle-aged woman who lost her mojo many moons ago. Watch out for me in the home with my zimmer.

7. On a similar note, I have a PhD in medieval lit and am a total pleb. Shakespeare? Ballet? Bored already. Read Chaucer for pleasure? No thanks. Can’t read Anglo-Saxon: hurrah for translations and films. At International Conferences (caps compulsory) I skipped the lectures to listen to the (old, real) Sugababes on my i-pod. Classical music goes over my head (unless it’s Italian opera). I don’t like really long books anymore. I’m okay with cathedrals though!

8. I’m an overgrown child. Okay, so I’m great with your kids because I like climbing trees, making stuff up, having gross-out conversations, and will enjoy playing with their dolls and assorted cuddly soft toys. But I can use expletives I didn’t know I knew. I find well-staged jokes about wind and burping hilarious (think Miranda, with knobs on). And I’m ashamed to admit that a few weeks ago, in the heat of the moment (therein lies a tale) I called someone a four-eyed bleep. Please don’t laugh. It encourages me.

9. I’m crazy about sci-fi and magic/supernatural stuff. Doctor Who, Torchwood (till it crossed the Atlantic and lost the plot and its heart), Harry Potter, the films and the books, the Northern Lights trilogy…I read The Hunger Games, all 3, back to back in 2 days. I love Atwood’s dystopian fiction and think Winterson’s The Daylight Gate is the best thing she’s done for a long time.

10. Did I tell you I am opinionated and can talk for England?


4 responses to “About Gail

  1. I like this website it’s a master piece! Glad I found this on google. http://www.hghreleaserreview.com


  2. Cathleen Hulme

    Dear Gail,
    I would love to meet you as I was born and bred in Nuneaton! Am now living in Adlington. Do you live in Poynton?
    Before we went away to America, I had prepared poems for the competition but have just realised that the closing date has gone!
    That goes to prove that I need a brain transplant!



  3. Pingback: Patience Agbabi, Gail Ashton and Stephen Fry to Judge Writing Competition – The Chaucer Heritage Trust

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