Philippa’s life, has been one of extremes, always all or nothing, seemingly feeling its own way towards the book ‘that wrote the life the Magnum Opus, Involution. Almost from birth in South Africa she straddled a divide, her family genetically half British, half Boer (on both sides of that vehement political conflict) and socially half black and half white, which necessitated becoming adjusted to conflict and contradiction—but mostly comfortable with solitude and its requirement to make sense of things without instruction or much help. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a thrice removed aunt may have cast a spell or perhaps her curse of poetic narrative.
Ideas to make sense of it were found in books, and the inspiration of literature, theology and art. Choice was somehow never offered and when it was, everything was always better than something. At University five faculties were sampled before graduating in Psychology and Zoology. Later life, with a marine biologist husband, meant mangrove swamps in Mozambique fishing for supper, then the Max Planck Institute in Bavaria with Konrad Lorenz and the vitality of the new school of animal behaviour. This amalgamation of both study and experience was set alight by unsought spiritual revelation that cost the loss of everything and demanded a re-examination of all received opinion about the nature of Nature. Poetically narrated science was the result. Poetic narrative fiction, in A Shadow in Yucatan was a tribute to the girl to whom the true story happened, too universal for a short story, too mythological for prose. It was, however fictionalised and the (other) characters entirely created to reflect the time in which it happened.
Apart from the compelling demands of both these books, many poems and a collection of short stories are now awaiting publication. One was a finalist in Narrative Magazine Winter Short Story (2014) and has been selected as Story of the Week (07 28-2014) Philippa has raised four daughters, lectured to mature University students, built an arts centre, and lives in Somerset, with a long-suffering husband and an aged collie, which continues. Writing always came first.
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A Shadow in Yucatan
by Philippa Rees
A poignant poetic novella recapturing the optimism of the sixties, Stephanie walks from pregnancy to pain, finding unexpected friends in unlikely places, and a growing instinct for truth and generosity.
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