Sep 25 2012 By Caitlin Black
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A BEST selling author and winner of an Observer poetry competition in 1972 made a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Harrow-born Janey Fraser visited Gayton Library on Monday evening last week, to speak about her career and the influence the borough has had on her work.
Starting out as a poetry enthusiast, she entered a poetry competition run by the Observer in 1972 and won with her entry about a candle.
The former journalist said: “I remember being so excited and happy over winning, it was an amazing feeling to have won. I was only 17 years old and it gave me the confidence I needed to become a writer.”
Mrs Fraser grew up in Fontwell Close, Harrow, and attended North London Collegiate School in Canons Drive, Edgware. She stayed in the borough until she was 22.
“Harrow was a huge part of my life, you can never forget somewhere you have spent so many years living in,” she said. “There are so many parts of it which have influenced me throughout my career.
“I used to walk in the woods at Old Redding and I would love to go and sit in the local libraries and write my short stories and poetry.
“I have kept so many memories of Harrow in my head, little ones like going to the school disco in the Memorial Hall in Harrow and Weald when I was only 14. I remember me and my friends would make it a priority to find a boyfriend, that’s all you cared about when you’re a 14-year-old girl.”
As a passionate reader and Jane Eyre fan, the writer studied English at Reading University, then went on to write for titles such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Woman and Woman’s Own magazines.
The mother-of-three became a freelance writer after she had her first child in 1983 and since then has had seven books published – the most recent one being The Au-Pair, which she spoke to local fans about during the library visit.
“Going back to the library was an amazing feeling,” she said. “I would not have survived without those libraries.”