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I was born in Scarborough, the seaside resort on the North East coast of Yorkshire, in 1942. Scarborough is a beautiful place, with dramatic cliffs, two sweeping bays, amazing views, a Castle, a Harbour with fishing boats…. And when I was growing up there, it was a very genteel resort, full of retired and older people. Of course there were young people and I plenty of school friends, but I still remember it as a place full of the old. I have written about the Scarborough of those days, only slightly disguised, principally in the novel A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER (1969) and also in one or two of the short stories in the collection A BIT OF SINGING AND DANCING, most notably, the story COCKLES AND MUSSELS. I also wrote about the house which is called Wood End and in which the Sitwell family grew up. These three poets and artists of the early part of the 20th century, Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell Sitwell, made a great impact on me, I loved visiting their house, now in part a Sitwell museum and in part a Natural History Museum. It features in the story IN THE CONSERVATORY in the same collection. (Much later in life I met Sacheverell Sitwell, and we shared many memories of childhoods – albeit 50 years apart – spent in Scarborough)

Susan Hill with Declan and Nancy Morrison April 26th 2001
I attended Scarborough Convent School, from the age of 3, until we left the town when I was 16, and I still have some friends from those days who live in Scarborough. I became interested in the theatre very early on. The Scarborough Repertory Theatre was twinned with the Repertory in York, and alternated productions. My mother took me to almost every one, even though I was very young and probably could not understand a great deal of what was going on ! But I loved the sight and sound and smells of the theatre from then. The Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round then opened, in a large room above the Scarborough Library, and I went to it as often as I could as a young teenager. We left Scarborough in 1958, the year that the playwright Alan Ayckbourn first arrived in the town, to take charge of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

I have written a good deal about my early years in Scarborough in the book FAMILY. This is an account of the birth and death of my premature daughter and the completion of my family with the arrival of my third child, but there is much about my own early years, my parents, Scarborough and the people I knew then.

We left Scarborough and moved to the city of Coventry in the Midlands, where my father had a job first in the aircraft and later in the car industry. There I attended a girls’ grammar school, Barr`s Hill – (fellow pupils included Sarah Parkin, the Green Party campaigner, and Jennifer Page , the first Chief Executive of the Millennium Dome!) click for more

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