Imogen Russell Williams is a children's book critic and editorial consultant. Her pamphlet, "The Women Left Behind" was a runner up in the Brian Dempsey Competition 2019, and is published as a book including 29 illustrations by Chris Riddell OBE.
Chris Riddell,OBE, is a Kate-Greenaway prizewinning British illustrator, occasional writer of children's books and a political cartoonist for the Observer.
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'The Women Left Behind'
Poems by Imogen Russell Williams
with illustrations by Chris Riddell
Chosen as her Observer’s Author’s Book of the Year by Hilary McKay (winner of the Costa children’s book award for The Skylark’s War.) She writes:
“For me, 2019 has been a year of fantasy and folk tales, both new and old, in every age group […]
For adults, my choice is poetry: The Women Left Behind (Dempsey & Windle, £10) by Imogen Russell Williams. Rapunzel’s witch; Blodeuwedd, who was shaped from flowers; and Romeo’s Rosaline, among many others – English literature forgot them, closed the door and turned away. Now at last we have their voices: wry, lamenting, vengeful, witty, bright, magnificent.” (The Observer, December 2019)
'Now and then writer and subject are perfectly matched. This is true of Imogen Russell Williams and her stranded women, drawn from from mythology, drama, as well as adult and children's fiction. Each speaks out of her own situation - some bemused and seemingly helpless, some deeply distressed, some telling home truths about the shortcomings of men, some with a wonderful sense of the absurd, some exceedingly robust. Plenty of fine poets have written short monologues of this kind (among them Stevie Smith, Randall Jarrell, Leonard Cohen and Denise Levertov, Ted Hughes and Anne Sexton) - and now Russell Williams, pointing again and again to the sheer staying power of women, shows she has no less powerful an empathy, energy and good ear, and holds her own with them.'