More About Us

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Keith Jones

- Chair

On returning to live in Suffolk in 2012, the Book League was one of the first organisations my wife and I joined.  I've been on the committee since 2014  and now am doing a stint in the chair as part of an excellent team.  

 

Words read, written and spoken, heard, sung and prayed, are central to my life, and I love to live in the county of George Crabbe, Edward Fitzgerald and Ronald Blythe (just three of the writers I admire).  I am a member of the Trollope Society, and have long loved Proust and Marilyn Robinson, though my wife is descended from Jane Austen's brother. The SBL constantly introduces me to new pleasures in books. My grandchildren are now exploring books more and more.

 

I once turned down W. H. Auden's offer of lunch, played cricket with Kingsley Amis and took tea with E.M Forster.

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Sue Blything-Smith

- Secretary

I became a member of the SBL committee about four years ago, having enjoyed being a member for a good few years.

 

Surprising events seem to involve famous people so...At a meeting with some of my students and Prince Charles, he turned to couple of them nodded towards me and said 'I bet she's a lot of fun to be with', thankfully they agreed! 

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Paris Warren

- Treasurer

I am the newest member of the Suffolk Bok League committee, joining in 2020 as treasurer. I have over 7 years' experience working in an international accountancy practice, so I very much looking forward to being part of this team. 

Outside of work, I like to spend my spare time with my family.

 

And I also enjoy the occasional glass of fizz! 

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Natalie Barber

I joined Suffolk Book League in 2019.

I enjoy reading novels on Tudor history. My bookshelves are mainly filled with books written by Anita Shreeve, Maggie O'Farrell, as well as Phillipa Gregory, although I am always keen to be recommended to new authors.

Something else? Inspired by a photo of myself as a young child I am now writing a novel. Ask me about the colour of the dress - or if you're patient, maybe when I have finished the book you can read it and find out for yourself.

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Janet Bayliss

I joined Suffolk Book League in 1993 and was co-opted onto the Committee, where I have been ever since. This includes two periods as membership secretary and one stint as secretary.

Something surprisingly about me? I once spent a night in a Swiss Trotskyite commune with a life sized picture of Michelangelo’s David on the inside of the toilet door – something different to view while in action, so as to speak!

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Andrew Burton

I have been a member of Suffolk Book League for 20 years and joined its committee in 2019.

 

I believe passionately in the power of words to transform lives. I agree with Edna O'Brien that great literature is a "priceless harvest". Some of the writers who have enriched that harvest for me include JM Coetzee, Kazuo Ishiguro, Deborah Levy, Toni Morrison, Anne Patchett and Colm Tóibín, to name but a few.

 

Fun fact:  I failed my first driving test by getting into the wrong car!  Lift, anyone?

Did you know that the Suffolk Book League is a volunteer led organisation? Run by a committee, we a group who are passionate about reading and literature. From all walks of life, and with different roles, we are keen to ensure our you get the most out of your membership. So, here's a bit more about us and how you can get in touch.

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Tricia Gilbey

I joined the Suffolk Book League committee in 2019.

 

My favourite authors? Impossible to choose! But recently I've loved Tove Jansson, Hilary Mantel and Maggie O'Farrell.

 

At the age of ten I sent my exercise books full of stories to Heinemann. They said they were sure I'd get published one day.

 

Now an aspiring children's writer, I live in hope!

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Gill Lowe

I can’t remember when I first joined SBL but it was years ago! 

For all kinds of personal reasons I love The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. Choosing a favourite author can’t be done but the one I know most about is Virginia Woolf. 

 

Something surprising about me? Dave Stewart, later of the ‘Eurythmics’, tried (but failed) to teach me to play the guitar when I was a teenager.   

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Aly Tipping

A Northerner at heart, I moved to Suffolk in 2008. I currently live in Ipswich with my husband & two children, plus our growing menagerie of pets including 80,000 bees! Honey! Yum!

I’ve always loved reading. Recently I’ve started reading works in translation, which I love. I’ll pretty much read anything but horror!

I've been involved in running the FlipSide Festival, I was the Engagement Manager at Eastern Angles Theatre Company and now I work for East Suffolk Council heading up the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone project.

 

Something else? Age 10 I appeared in a children’s TV show – my kids think I was a child star! It wasn’t that glamourous.

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Jeff Taylor

I’ve been a member of the Suffolk Book League since 2015 and a member of the committee for much of that time.

 

I first came across the League ten years earlier when, living in Norfolk, I wrote a monthly column on East Anglian literature for the Eastern Daily Press newspaper. A leaflet, Literary Suffolk, published in 1998 and which had been complied by members of the League, was a very helpful source of information. Usefully, in 2008, Literary Suffolk was updated by Anne Parry, a long-standing member of the League, and republished as a small booklet to celebrate the organisation’s 25th anniversary. Inspired by these publications I have been gently digging into the literary heritage of Suffolk since moving to the county in 2013. 

 

Having been an archaeologist in years gone by, I’m happy that this ‘literary archaeology’ is much less messy than the real thing.