With the departure of Kathryn for a well earned GWN sabatical, we are delighted to welcome Rod Griffiths (CBE) to the GWN team.  Rod brings a wealth of experience to the team, joining Penny and Chris as Co-Chair.

Here is a potted bio of Rod  – Welcome on board 😉

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I was professor of public health at the university of Birmingham and regional director of public health from 1992 until 2004. After that I was elected president of the national professional body for public health— the Faculty of Public Health, part of the Royal College of Physicians.  I got a CBE in 2000 for services to public health.

In those roles I did a lot of media work, both writing in academic and popular journals as well as radio and TV interviews.

I’ve always been interested in writing and communication. Despite dyslexia running quite strongly in our family I was good at English, particularly the creative writing side— rather less good at spelling.

Before I retired I went on a couple of creative writing courses as part of my annual holidays and started writing fiction seriously during the last few years before I retired. I had an agent for a short while but it seemed clear to me that I was unlikely to get much priority from her because she had more famous clients who were younger. The crude fact is that an agent needs clients who will make money for at least a few years if they are to regain their initial investment in the client. I was past 60, so in some ways lot a long term prospect. We parted company in a few months and I went down the self publishing route.

I have published three novels and two collections of short stories.

Two friends of mine in the Worcester Writer’s Circle and myself got fed up with advising members on how to self publish and after some careful research we set up a small publishing Company— Black Pear Press (www.blackpear.net).  So far we have published over fifty books, by about twenty different authors; mostly collections of poetry and short stories with some novels, both for YA and all ages as well as a few children’s books. We are still in business. Although it might be fair to say it is more of a self funding hobby 😉

My own writing is somewhat eclectic in style and genre— it is unlikely that I will ever sell a book that brings in as much as my pension, so I really don’t worry too much about trying to sell lots of books or to build a following by sticking to a small pallette of characters in one genre.

Who knows how much longer I’ll be doing this, but for now I still appear to be healthy and having fun with most aspects of writing.  That’s probably enough about me for you to be able to answer anyone who says ‘Who is this person?’

I look forward to joining the GWN team and helping to shape and develop this further.