Author’s talk will celebrate Colne

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An author is presenting a jubilant talk tomorrow on the Colne that shaped her memoirs.

In Praise of Colne...With Thanks will celebrate the town that became the making of writer Suzette Quinn.

Abandoned as a baby at a Catholic orphanage, she came to Colne at 22 as a single mother to four children and worked three jobs while training to become a teacher.

The talk, she said, “is about the debt I owe Colne. I want to say thank you to the town for the opportunities it gave me.”

A woman of mixed heritage, Suzette will celebrate the town’s inclusiveness in an age of racial segregation.

“Colne was a safe place for my sons,” she said. “I scrimped and scraped during their childhood but they both look back on it as special.”

Her memoirs also deal with her grief following her daughter’s death at 18 due to substance abuse.

“Jessica's drug-taking was going on for six years,” Suzette said. “I didn’t know about it but her school friends did and I think they feel responsible.

“Her best friend told me they’d been worried about Jessica but didn’t think it was doing her any serious harm.

“Children should be absolved from any blame.

“There are lessons to be learnt. The first time taking drugs can kill you as easily as the hundredth. I want sixth-formers to read the book so they can have discussions about it.”

The memoirs not only look at the impact of her daughter’s death but also at how she picked up the pieces.

“The death of a child,” Suzette added, “needn’t be the end of your life”.

“The talk will give me the opportunity to lay ghosts to rest and use it as a platform for what it feels like to be an outsider and then feel included.”

“It’s about what you can make out of your life, without making excuses, and letting people know you’ve been where they are.”

The talk will take place tomorrow at Colne Library, beginning at 1pm.