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This website will tell you about my writing and about me. I hope it will interest you and make you want to read more of my work.

Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw

In 2018 my publisher entered my Sue Ryder biography for The People’s Book Prize and I therefore asked people to cast a vote for my book. Thanks to lots of supporters I find that I have become a finalist in the non-fiction section. There will be another round of voting in April, and it is that which will determine the overall prizewinners, to be announced in May.

If you voted for me last time, please accept my warmest thanks. And many thanks too, of course, to those who vote for me in the final round. There is no requirement for voters to write comments, but a few extra words certainly add a bit of pizzazz, as you can see on the website

My very best wishes for 2019.

Please contact me if you have any queries.

Tessa West


A biography: Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw, Single Minded Philanthropist

Writing this biography can best be described as an adventure, albeit a steady one which has taken me about two years. The research path led through many places including Suffolk villages, various museums, Audley End (a 15th century country house in Essex) and Warsaw. As well as getting to know my subject, who could be head-strong, empathetic and inspirational in turn, I’ve learned more about WW2, about Poland, and disability. My focus of course has been on Sue Ryder and the positive difference she devoted her life to making.


A narrative poem: The Lewis Chessmen

Another project began when I came across the story of the Lewis Chessmen. In 1831 a group of 12th century chessmen were found near Uig beach in Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. I was intrigued by this and soon found myself in a small plane on a clear December day heading for Stornoway. I started to work on my narrative poem as I looked down on islands, the sea, lochs, mountains and valleys.

Both of my newest books have required plenty of historical research which is a part of writing I enjoy greatly.

Radio Interviews

Shortly before my book on Sue Ryder was published I was interviewed on Woman’s Hour and on BBC Radio Suffolk.

To listen to those interviews, click on the audio players below.
BBC Woman's Hour
BBC Radio Suffolk


I am available to give readings and talks about my novels and writing. I also give talks specifically about John Howard and Sue Ryder, and I run writing workshops. I work with groups such as U3As, local history groups, colleges, libraries, schools and WIs.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss how I might best contribute to your organisation.


I have worked for The Literary Consultancy reading manuscripts and mentoring writers for many years. I have discovered that helping people to improve their writing means that I reflect more on my own work: a real benefit for me as well as for them.

There’s a skill to encouraging people who are hungry to do well. It’s a pleasure to encourage and praise novice writers but finding the right questions – ones that will actually support and develop them – can be tricky. But it’s work I very much enjoy.

Site last updated: 18-12-18