Book celebrates 500 years of authors who made Waveney their home

Ruth Walton with the new book - Writers of the Waveney Valley. Picture: Mick Howes

Ruth Walton with the new book - Writers of the Waveney Valley. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

An author and local historian has celebrated the rich and ‘often forgotten’ literary heritage of the Waveney Valley in a new book.

'Writers of the Waveney Valley' explores the lives of more than 60 writers who knew and loved the area from Diss to Great Yarmouth between 1470 and 2019.

The author Ruth Walton, from Beccles, has lived in the area for 40 years, and said "this quiet corner of South Norfolk has been home to many writers in the 15th century to today's novelists with international reputations.

"I enjoy writing and I had written another book about all the people on the Harleston war memorial. That did well and got a lot of people interested in local history, so I begun to wonder who had lived in this valley, and who were the writers."

From the 17th Century writer and spy Daniel Defoe to today's award-winning author and journalist Richard Mabey who wrote about his move to the region in 'Nature Cures', the book covers an expansive range of those who lived around or visited Waveney.

Mrs Walton said: "It's been very interesting research to discover writers who lived here and those who are alive today. There are people from all walks of life.

"It's taken about two years to write this book in writing time, with a lot of research spending hours in the local record office and discovering letters."

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Mrs Walton is retired, but writes contributions to magazines and does research on historical artefacts. Prior to this she used to run a business with her partner, Colin Walton.

Mrs Walton's last book, 'We Will Remember' gave a short history of Harleston detailing the 97 names on the war memorial, explaining what had happened to each person involved in war.

She said: "It's difficult, finding and sifting information. But people have told me it's very interesting.

"I've found out a lot about different people and the visitors. I was fortunate enough to see original books, and to interview living writers."

Writers of the Waveney Valley can be bought at Jarrold's in Norwich and bookshops across Beccles and Harleston.