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Clare Ellin: The Wise Woman of Kilnwick by Frank McGarry £12.50 + £2.80 pp




This book skilfully interweaves a fascinating account of the East Yorkshire writer Clare Ellin’s life with a generous themed selection of her poems, including several in dialect. A former member of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, which has published a number of her poems, Clare Ellin was a keen and sympathetic observer of people and of the natural world in her birthplace, Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, and especially in Kilnwick (“Killick”) where she lived from 1956 until 1984. Frank McGarry’s interest in Clare Ellin was sparked by the gift of one of her poems, “The Ha-ha, Kilnwick” which gave details of a low wall which originally formed part of the Kilnwick Hall estate but is now part of the front garden of his house. This set him on a quest to discover more about Clare and her life and work, which in due course led to the writing of this fascinating book which is an affectionate and well researched account of her many attributes and achievements. Illustrated with drawings, some by Clare herself, and by photographs, many in colour, the book offers valuable insights into local rural life, and also pays tribute to the observational and poetic skills of this remarkable and sensitive writer.

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