A scientist, Helen has always been passionate about astronomy. Her father is an astrophysicist. As a child, she loved reading, but was not interested in writing. Brought up in England, she spent her summers near Dublin visiting relations.
“Dad is Irish, and his family is huge.”
Having acquired a PhD in Edinburgh University, Helen stayed on as a post-doc research associate. Then she moved to Glasgow and worked for three years in research in Bio Electrical Engineering, studying cancer research.
“I loved the ideas behind the science; I loved talking about it and explaining, but I did not enjoy the actual lab work. The chemicals gave me a headache. It was stressful day to day.”
Wanting a change of direction, she decided to write.
“I had edited a text book and always loved writing papers.”
She took an evening class, and the tutor recommended that she apply for the Masters in Creative Writing.
“I went part-time in my job, so it worked out well.”
Then Helen worked in publishing, and on magazines as an editor, whist writing, and teaching creative writing.
“I ended up as Managing Director at Cargo Publishing.”
Who is Helen Sedgwick
Date of birth: 1978, in London.
Education: Chiswick Community School; Bristol University, Physics. Edinburgh University, PhD Bio-Physics. Glasgow University, M Lit in Creative Writing.
Home: Scottish Highlands, North of Inverness.
Family: Partner. “He’s a photographer.”
The Day Job: Proprietor of Wildland Literary Editors, offering services to publishers and writers.
Interests: “I play the violin, piano and recorder. I love gardening, walking and science.”
Favourite Writers: Ursula Le Guin; Kazuo Ishiguro; Alice Munro; Virginia Woolf; William Trevor; Elizabeth Bishop.
Second Novel: “It’s a feminist sci-fi novel.”
Top Tip: “Don’t worry about all the advice. Just keep writing.”
Web: www.Helensedgwick.com Twitter: @HelenSedgwick
The Debut: The Comet Seekers. Harvill Secker: €16.99. Kindle: €10.53.
Growing-up in Ireland, Róisín loved science and the skies; a passion shared by Françoise, raised in France. This novel loops centuries, with stories of their ancestors and lives, in snapshots coinciding with visible comets. Are the two destined to meet?
And what of Róisín’s cousin, the home loving Liam? Can he find happiness?
The Verdict: An intricate, multi-faceted read about families, love and ghosts, but with science at its heart.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 3rd September.
© Sue Leonard. 2016.