Battle artist to release debut novel

Single to Brighton, the debut novel from Battle author Lilian Forshaw.
Single to Brighton, the debut novel from Battle author Lilian Forshaw.

BATTLE artist Lilian Forshaw is to release her debut book, Single to Brighton, next month.

Based on real family stories told to the author by her grandmother, Single to Brighton is by turn heart-warming and tragic, yet retains throughout its pages the stamp of authenticity.

The collection of willow-pattern china on Lilian Forshaw’s dresser at Deerfold Cottage has arrived there by many different routes over the years - some bought from antique shops, some handed down through the family and some discarded in barns and sculleries to be rediscovered and put back into use only after years of neglect.

Each piece has its story to tell and these form the backbone for this saga of life in England at the turn of the twentieth century.

Clara, the focus of the tale, grows up in Pevensey marshes and goes to work in domestic service before finding her vocation as a clever and gifted cook.

Her career is almost derailed by an early relationship, but through her own resourcefulness and courage she builds a life for herself as a pioneer single mother.

Her story goes on to encompass love, family, strife, loss and all the old-fashioned values that thrive in a close-knit, but poor, community.

Lilian was born in Brighton and studied at Brighton Art College, where she specialised in painting and industrial and hand pottery, and spent some time painting and working in Venice. In her final year she trained to be an art teacher.

Single to Brighton is the first of a planned trilogy of books about Lilian’s family history.

A book launch for Single to Brighton will take place in the Alter Ego Gallery in Abbey Court, Battle, on Saturday October 27.