My Darling Derry – Letter-poems about Derek Richter founder of The Mental Health Foundation by Sally Festing
Sally Festing is the elder daughter of Derek Richter. Twenty years after his death she inherited hundreds of family letters, diaries and medical notes that reveal his personal life and how it affected his dedication to discover the cause and treatment of mental illness. Her poems grew from these records.
Sally grew up in Cambridge where her father worked at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. She began writing while teaching part-time and caring for a young family – journalism, radio plays, academic studies, biographies of Gertrude Jekyll, Barbara Hepworth and other non-fiction books. More recently, she has produced four poetry collections: Swimming Lessons, Salaams (HappenStance), Font and Doors Opening (Oversteps). In Leicester, she was chair of the Poetry Society; in Manningtree she ran a Poetry Society Stanza. Today she hosts readings for Saltmarsh Poetry in a North Norfolk cottage where she lives with her husband, Michael and a half-feral tabby, Jazz. (www.sallyfesting.info)
‘Unafraid of emotion, she confronts reality squarely, marvelling equally at its beauty and its pain’ ~ Helena Nelson