Tessa West

Tessa West didn’t set out to be a writer. She trained as a teacher and enjoyed working with young children until the chance came to teach in a prison. She jumped at this and immediately became interested in the community of the prison and in her adult students. A Winston Churchill Fellowship enabled her to visit prisons in Scandinavia, a very positive experience which confirmed her determination that prisons can and should be purposeful for prisoners and staff.

She began to write poetry and undertook a creative writing course in which she was mentored by Sara Maitland. She has since completed four novels, and several collections of poems, one of which was the result of an MA in Writing the Visual at Norwich University College of the Arts.

It was only when she had completed her first novel that she realised that what really interests her are identity and belonging. These two significant aspects of being human are at the core of her two biographies.

In 2011 Waterside Press published her biography The Curious Mr Howard, about the prison reformer, and in 2018 Shepheard- Walwyn published her Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw.

Lady Sue Rider of Warsaw was a finalist in the summer 2018 round of the People’s Book Prize.