Jane Dards

Poetry (and novels) to be read and poetry to be performed
Jane Dards

Biography

Jane Dards grew up in rural Hertfordshire, and has always had a great love for the natural world. Her parents were both professional artists, and her father used to say "I paint pictures with brushes, but you paint pictures with words".

Jane started writing stories, poems and songs at an early age. When she was 15, her short story "The Victim" was the winner in her age section in the Young Writers competition in the Evening Echo. At 17 she had her first poems published, and one of her poems read at a country-house poetry event.

When choosing A-level subjects, she found that timetabling restrictions meant that it was not possible to study both the sciences and the arts, so she opted for science qualifications, thinking (optimistically) that she could continue her interests in the arts in her spare time. Pursuing her love of nature, she took a Biology degree at Southampton University, specialising in animal behaviour and ecology, followed by a PhD on feral cats (see right.)

While at university, she performed one of her own songs in the floor show of the university Folk Club. The headlining performer that night was Jasper Carrott - before he became a TV star!

Unable to obtain an academic post at a time of draconian cuts in university funding, Jane moved into computing where she turned her hand to a wide variety of tasks, many of which involved writing, such as a monthly magazine for software dealers called The Flying Floppy. In 1985 she started her own business as a freelance technical author, primarily writing user guides for software applications, and also publishing articles in the computer press. She continued to write short stories and poems during her meagre spare time, and published a few poems in the 90s while her children were young.

In 2001 she left Hampshire and moved with her family to the beautiful countryside of mid Wales, and in 2006 she stopped working to focus on her creative writing. Intending to work on a novel, she looked for a writing group for support and, finding none, attended writing classes run by the poet Chris Kinsey; these resulted in an outpouring of new poems and an introduction to open mic readings. (But no novel.)

Since then her serious poems and light verse have appeared in a range of publications, and she has performed at venues in Powys and beyond at both booked readings and open mics.

In 2010 she was involved in MOCA Cymru's Walking with Artists project as a poet engaging with walkers in Llandrindod Wells, together with Sally Russell (dance) and Geraint Roberts (music). This led to further collaborations with Sally, in children's workshops incorporating both dance and poetry.

In 2011 Jane was a finalist in the biennial John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry, organised by Literature Wales. (Sadly, this was the last year in which the competition was run.) And in 2012 she set up a quarterly open mic evening in mid Wales, which ran until October 2016 when she handed on the baton so that she could concentrate on her novels.

Jane currently has one novel out on submission to literary agents, and is working on another - although neither is the one she was going to write in 2006. Watch this space...

Why the cat?

You may wonder why the logo on this website is a talking cat. This is by way of being Jane Dards' personal logo, as she spent several years studying   cats for her PhD on "The Population Ecology of Feral Cats in Portsmouth Dockyard".

This oddball research project led to her appearing on television and national radio, and giving a number of lectures and talks to a range of audiences, including a seminar at Cambridge University and an illustrated lecture to a packed hall for the Mammal Society annual conference in London.

If you are interested, you can visit her feral cats website which includes photographs and publications.

 

Site and poems (c) Jane Dards, 2011-2017