A life in words – author biog

ST. ALBANS, Jan 9 – From Lancaster in Lancashire in the North-West of England, I did a law degree, but was destined for a career in words. I moved to London where I found a job as an assistant with a small specialist publisher.

Several copy-writing jobs later, I wormed my way into a reporting job with an American news agency’s London office on Fleet Street.

They let me loose on the coffee, sugar and oil markets. It was a great job. I’d made it. I even had one of those early mobile phones the size of a clog. And they used to send me to Geneva and Vienna to chase OPEC oil minsters around, or up to Orkney to check out oil terminals. But all good things must end.

reuters name plate

The mighty Reuters was about five doors down Fleet Street in an imposing Lutyens edifice of imperial grandeur, and they paid a lot more. So I talked my way into the world’s greatest news agency as a reporter. I put down roots and spent the rest of my glorious career in the arms of The Baron, as Reuters is known to insiders.

I edited millions of words written by hundreds of reporters from all points of the globe. I loved fooling around with their words, supposedly honing them into things of beauty, mostly just hacking them about. Still, it was great fun.
Meanwhile, I was quietly working away at my own writing for the joy of it, biding my time. Reuters was a news factory where words hurtled at you like trucks on some vast highway. It made me yearn for more poetic forms of expression, something with a beating heart.
I wrote ONE SWIFT SUMMER in 2001, touted it around a few London literary agents, to no avail, after which I forgot about it for a decade. Enter Amazon. I got some feedback for the story, which I then re-edited and self-published in Nov 2011.
Meanwhile, I wrote a collaborative story to keep my hand in and a second story of my own – IN THE ROOM WITH THREE DOORS – in which three twenty-somethings escape London for the watercress beds and nightingales of Hampshire.
ONE SWIFT SUMMER also has a London theme, being a story of redemption set in Kew Gardens, where a jaded young war-photographer is drawn into a wistful relationship with an enigmatic guy who can’t stop smiling and glancing at the sky.

While not a long story, ONE SWIFT SUMMER has had a long maturation and, in spite of its title, is not a story to dash through, being unconventional and gently challenging. I hope you will find the outcome artfully enlivening, a nourishing read that will earn and deserve your enduring regard.



by R J Askew


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