How family history inspired my writing: from the River Kwai to the Thames (article in this month
Ann Bennett reveals how her family history inspired her to write and publish her novels, including her latest, The Foundling’s Daughter
Two of my great aunts Evie and Georgie Bennett, Wargrave, 1890
I’ve always been inspired by history. As a child, the books I treasured most were the Ladybird History series, bringing to life the stories of inspiring historical figures as well as famous kings and queens. I also loved to write and illustrate my own stories. I carried both these interests into my adult life. I always kept a journal, tried my hand a short-stories and drafted a couple of full-length novels over the years, none of which saw the light of day.
It wasn’t until I embarked on research into my family history that I had the idea for a novel which eventually led me down the road to publication.
Researching Dad, a PoW in WW2
My father, Dick Bennett, around 1930
My father served in the Indian Army in the 1930s, signing up during the depression when there were very few jobs available in London. He was sent out to India and stationed on the North West Frontier for several years, and volunteered to serve in the Malaya campaign during at the start of World War II.