Julia Alison Casterton was born on December 5th 1952 in Nottingham. She went to school at Arnold county high school, where she was a studious head girl. She graduated from the University of Essex with a first-class degree in comparative literature in 1975. She joined the Communist Party at university, remaining a member for about 10 years, and joined the editorial board of the Party journal, `Red Letters’, in the early 1980s.
From 1986 to 1996 she published poetry and taught creative writing. The fruits of her wide teaching experience came with the book Creative Writing first published in 1986 (a third, revised edition came out in 2005). In 2004, her first full-length collection of poems, the Doves of Finisterre, won the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection prize. She was already a widely published poet in magazines and pamphlets. Also in 2005, she published Writing Poems – A Practical Guide.
In 2006 she received an Arts Council award to support the preparation of her next collection of poems, and despite increasing ill-health, she finished a first novel. She heard the news that she had won a national competition for poems based on the word “fishing” a week before her death at the age of 54. Julia was survived by her third husband Chris Nawrat, whom she met at Essex University, and two daughters from her second marriage. She died on February 24th 2007.
Source: Guardian March 2nd 2007
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