Meet the writers of life in The Dales

Authors Yvette Huddleston and Walter Swan

The cover of their book

First published in News

Readers can meet Ilkley authors Yvette Huddleston and Walter Swan, who will be signing copies of their book The Barefoot Shepherdess And Women Of The Dales at the Grove Bookshop on the Grove, Ilkley, on Saturday.

The book celebrates the variety and versatility of a dozen or more determined women who have made a distinctive life for themselves “far from the madding crowd”.

Women like Alison O’Neill, the barefoot shepherdess, who owns her own flock of sheep and designs her own brand of tweed clothing, demonstrate that you can live a life of independence and fulfilment even in Britain’s remotest regions.

Each chapter, illustrated with photographs by Walter Swan, features inspirational women who have made the choice to live and work collaboratively with the people and places of the Yorkshire landscape.

What they have in common – farmers, artists, vets, gamekeepers, publicans, entrepreneurs, artisans, academics, vets, curators and vicars – is a passion for life where Yorkshire countryside and community coincide.

“It has been a privilege getting to know these extraordinary, inspiring women,” says Yvette.

“A great deal of what makes them inspiring is to do with personality – they are passionate about what they do and where they live – but they have achieved their sense of fulfilment and happiness only after a great deal of hard work.

“What our book celebrates is the way in which all of them have overcome the difficulties of rural living, embraced its pleasures and forged a life for themselves through their enterprise and particular abilities,” says Walter. “The women all share a significant awareness of, and affection for, their immediate surroundings and a relationship with the landscape in which they live.”

Yvette has been a freelance journalist for 22 years. She was a film columnist for The Daily Mail for ten years and has contributed features and reviews to a variety of national and regional publications. After living in London for many years, she moved to Ilkley with her family 12 years ago.

Walter is the creative development manager at Ilkley Playhouse and a freelance writer. He has also enjoyed a career in English teaching and broadcasting, having worked as a researcher and programme associate for the BBC, LWT and Sky. A keen photographer, he has lived with his family in Burley-in-Wharfedale since 1997.

The authors have also written A Day In A Dale, a guide to Yorkshire’s most beautiful locations, which was published in 2011.

The book signing will take place from 3pm to 5pm.

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