A HEXHAMSHIRE woman has had a collection of her poems published.

'Inscape', a collection of poems written by Kathy Bainbridge, was published last month.

Kathy (74), who came to live in the area 15 years ago, embarked on an MA in Creative Writing in 2010 at Newcastle University, focusing on poetry.

Having originally studied Philosophy and English Literature at university in Edinburgh, Kathy worked as an English teacher and was at one point Head of English at Durham High School for Girls. She later trained as a counsellor.

"I've been writing since I was at school but I had never really taken it all that seriously," said Kathy.

"Before I retired, I decided it's now or never if you're going to do it."

Kathy joined a writing club named Carte Blanche in Newcastle and later attended an Arvon creative writing course in Scotland.

"I was really encouraged to go on writing, so that's what I did," she said.

"And it was the next year I applied for the MA."

Graduating with distinction at the age of 66 in 2013, Kathy said she really enjoyed studying for the degree.

"It's lovely to feel like your mind's alive," she said.

"It was great to be among people of all different ages and to learn from younger people."

Kathy was the runner-up for the first Flambard Poetry Prize in 2014 and won the New North Poet award from New Writing North the following year.

"I actually thought I would publish in a year or two of that," said Kathy.

"But I had a few health problems and it got to the point where I was quite distracted. I couldn't really put my mind to submitting any work but then after I was recovering, a friend, who is published herself, really got at me and nudged me hard [to publish].

"We made a mutual promise, she would do certain things, and I would submit a manuscript. And then when the pandemic hit, I thought that was the perfect time."

'Inscape' has been published by Vane Women Press, who Kathy said were great to work with.

"I was really struck by the quality," she said.

Kathy said anything can be an inspiration for her poems, from a trip to New Jersey to a precious memory she has of buying a hat from a market stall in Glasgow with her husband.

One of the subjects featured in Kathy's poems is loss.

"I write a lot about loss, which sounds like a downer but it isn't," she said. "I sometimes think life is getting used to loss, whether it's of things or people."

She said her favourite poem in the book is 'Holdfast', which was written in memory of her husband Bill Moran.

"I decided I wanted to write something for him and about him which would contain some of the things that summed him up a bit," she said.

Kathy, who was brought up in South Shields, is currently promoting 'Inscape' at readings, and hopes to make an appearance at Hexham Book Festival next year.

"It's very exciting," she said.

"Having been very solitary, by choice as much as anything, suddenly I'm putting myself into these positions and situations where I'm doing lots of socialising which isn't what I'm used to."

An official launch of 'Inscape' is taking place at The Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle on Wednesday, November 3 at 7pm.

The pamphlet is available from Vane Women Press at www.vanewomen.co.uk