Elizabeth Woodcraft

Biography

Elizabeth Woodcraft was born and grew up on a working class estate in Chelmsford, Essex. At a time of mods and rockers, Chelmsford was a mod town and she became a mod at 13, worked in the Milk Bar at 15, and danced to the music of Zoot Money, Georgie Fame and Wilson Pickett on Saturdays.

She took her suede coat and small collection of Tamla Motown records to Birmingham University where she studied philosophy. She then taught English in Leicester and Tours in France. After that, she moved to London where she worked for Women's Aid, the organisation which supports women who suffer domestic violence. Women's Aid helped to bring about a change in the law - the Domestic Violence Act of 1976 - and Elizabeth's experiences during that time led her to retrain as a barrister. During her time at the Bar she has represented Greenham Common Peace Protesters, Anti-Apartheid demonstrators, striking miners and Clause 28 activists, as well as battered women, children who have suffered sex abuse in and out of their homes and gay parents seeking parental rights.

She has published two crime novels, featuring barrister Frankie Richmond - Good Bad Woman and Babyface. Frankie Richmond's collection of Stax and Motown records is to die for. Good Bad Woman was shortlisted for the John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel, and in the US won the Lambda Literary Award. The reviewer in the London Times said about Babyface, 'Move over Rumpole.' A third Frankie Richmond novel - Crazy Arms - is on the way.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chelmsford, Essex, on a fifties council estate. My best friend lived just across the road. We played together from the age of two. We went to different schools but other than that we were inseparable. The years went by and we became mods together. Our lives formed the basis of the stories in A Sense of Occasion.
When did you first start writing?
I have written since I was quite young, 8 or 9. My best friend Christine and I used to write a newspaper for the people in our street, we handwrote six or seven copies and sewed the pages together. Once we ran a story about a burning house near our estate and gave away a free piece of ash with each copy. I also used to write plays which we performed to people in the street - although the only people who came were my sister and her friend. There always had to be a character called Sally in the play, for Christine's sister.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Elizabeth Woodcraft online


Where to buy in print


Books

A Sense of Occasion
Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 21,030. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
1960s England - Marconis, milk bars, mods and rockers. As Tommy Tucker puts on his ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’ the Vespas pull up outside the Orpheus coffee bar. A wedding, a ban the bomb march, a cocktail party create A Sense of Occasion. Award winning author Elizabeth Woodcraft's interlinked stories describe life growing up on a working class estate, and show how the 60s changed the lives of 4 mod girls.

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