Sally Festing grew up in Cambridge where her father worked
at Addenbrooke's Hospital. She began writing while teaching part-time and caring for a young family - journalism, radio plays, academic studies, biographies of Gertrude Jekyll, Barbara Hepworth and other non-fiction books. More recently, she has produced four poetry collections: Swimming Lessons, Salaams (HappenStance), Font and Doors Opening (Oversteps).
In Leicester, she was chair of the Poetry Society;
in Manningtree she ran a Poetry Society Stanza. Today she hosts readings for Saltmarsh Poetry in a North Norfolk cottage where she lives with her husband, Michael and a half-feral tabby, Jazz. (www.sallyfesting.info)
In response to mental health issues experienced by his two siblings, my father Derek Richter became a noted neuro-psychiatrist and founder of the Mental Health Research Fund (now Foundation). For more than sixty years, the Foundation has funded pioneering research and challenged the status of mental health in the UK. After his death, I inherited hundreds of family letters, diaries and medical notes that are the source of my poems. They reveal how his personal life affected his dedication to discover the cause and treatment of mental illness, and how this became the driving force of his life.