Joanna Seldon (neé Pappworth) was brought up in South Hampstead and studied English at Oxford where she gained a high First and received her Doctorate for her work on Nathaniel Hawthorne. She went on to teach English at The Old Palace School in Croydon, James Allen’s Girls’ school in Dulwich, Brighton College and Wellington College. Her first book, By Word of Mouth, written with husband Anthony was published in 1983; Waterloo to Wellington was published in 2015; and The Whistleblower, which tells the story of the battle that her controversial father, Dr Maurice Pappworth, had with the medical establishment over experiments on human beings, will be published later this year. Joanna wrote three novels and several short stories, all of which can be found on her website. She was diagnosed with an incurable cancer in 2011, and lived with it bravely for five and a half years until her death at the end of 2016. Some of her finest poems are informed by her experience of cancer. She had three children (Jessica, Susie and Adam) with Anthony, to whom she was married for thirty four years.
“There’s a sense of enjoyment in these poems, however dark sometimes the material. They are such a pleasure because they are not just full of life but somehow in among life itself.”
“The Bright White Tree reveals grace under duress: Joanna Seldon’s mastery of form and her astute handling of free verse allow her wit and control even when embroiled in tragic contexts. Her apprehension of the natural world and the nitty gritty business of human behaviour is vividly realised, memorable and always governed by the urge to say ‘yes’ to life. All her work is underpinned by the urge to praise.”
“Joanna Seldon’s tough and tender poems are about the struggle between the elemental forces of life. At the same time they celebrate the effort to ‘create the light’, with a vulnerability and openness to experience that is breath-taking.”