Professor Denis Judd gave a talk on the subject of how a (nearly) local girl, Alison Uttley, became a best selling and world famous author to an enthralled and responsive full-house audience at the prestigious Buxton Festival. He explained that a key to understanding Alison’s immensely creative but rather dominating spirit was her belief that: ‘I always felt I was a changeling child. A bit of fairy got into me at Castle Top [Farm]’.
Frequently referring to the 2009 published Private Diaries of Uttley Diaries, as well as his to his very recently republished authorised biography, Alison Uttley: Spinner of Tales (Manchester University Press paperback, 2010) Denis gave a wide-ranging, frank but often amusing account of Mrs. Uttley’s work as a prodigiously productive author and analysed her often troubled, but intensely lived, personal life.
After the talk, a short BBC TV film profile of Mrs. Uttley, made by Simon Groom of Manor Farm, Dethick, the place that inspired Alison’s classic novel A Traveller in Time, was shown.
This was followed by a lively general discussion, in which many interesting and challenging points were made. But, as always, the meeting ran out of time all too fast.