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Five things you don’t know about Penny Pepper…

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Photo of Liz Carr, Penny Pepper in the BBC stiudio recording

Penny Pepper with Liz Carr at the BBC. Image © Penny Pepper

I hate apricots – who knew that?

I think that’s enough, though I might sneak another one in later.  I’ve read far too much about how to do social media lately…

Life has been a swing between work and health. Sometimes it’s more a stagger. Sometimes a bounce.

Lots of news and I scarcely know where to begin. Had a most marvellous adventure a few weeks back with my darling mate Liz Carr (as seen in the photo above) at BBC Radio 4 to record With Great Pleasure. I was chuffed to be one of Liz’s readers, along with actor Daniel Weyman – Max, her TV husband from Silent Witness. Great fun was had by all and with her usual skill Liz managed to squeeze in disability rights. The programme was broadcast on 8th May and is available on BBC i-player until mid-June. I like going to the BBC – the staff at ground level are helpful and in its operations it retains a sense of dotty Britishness, from the art deco features in the radio theatre to the way staff have to contend with archaic procedures.

I lost my voice completely to laryngitis last March, which is a scary experience for the Pepper. It also meant sadly I couldn’t do my turn for Disability Arts Online as a living library book at Brighton’s Sick Festival. But I am due to be a guest speaker at the end of this month at The Hurst, on an Arvon course talking poetry. Arvon is a lovely writer’s organisation and I know that The Hurst is fully accessible. Sometimes bursaries are available for costs. It’s a privilege to be going along to meet other poets.

Later on in the year, I will be in Edinburgh during fringe month in connection with my book – but as they say, watch this space for further details.

I didn’t want to mention the election, but I must.

I can’t face the dirty detail of party politics. It will be no surprise to you that my loyalties stem from a belief in social justice and equality for all, in diversity and inclusion for all. We don’t get close to this within a greedy system of rampant capitalism. Every time I visit my hospital (which is often) I cry for our NHS – as I cry for social care and our welfare state – which has been amongst the best and most progressive in the world. We’ve had the UN reporting that the UK government is responsible for grave and systemic violations of the UN’s Disability Convention.

Defending the progressive and social justice legacy is what I’m fighting for. We need to go back to kindness, to remember our shared humanity. I remain stubborn and resilient against accusations of idealism. I’ve written several articles for the Guardian lately and thought it was worth passing on my profile link with access to them all. The latest one had over 10,000 shares, which is an encouraging sign. Please feel free to share this link amongst friends and colleagues. I do believe words have power – hopefully for the good – and to encourage discussion and new ways of thinking is all a writer can hope to do.

Finally, there are still some hot pledge opportunities available, as my book First in the World Somewhere creeps closer to being a reality in our hands. I’ve seen the cover! I’ve seen the blurb! I’ve even seen the typeface. Which I can’t share with you now as it’s naturally a huge secret. People can still pledge to pre-buy but won’t get their name in the book. Please share with others who might be tempted by Penny Tales.

It all goes towards pushing up the profile, giving me a voice and keeping the gluten free bread on the table. Thank you, as always.

And a huge deep breath to say First in the World Somewhere is out in September. Not so far away. Excitement doesn’t even come close.

Be well, be happy – as Morrissey once said to me…

More soon, I promise!

Penny

Ps: Factoid number two – I once met the Queen’s cousin, Lord Snowden.

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