For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features writer Ann Brough.
Born in Staffordshire, England, she moved to Canada in 1967, one year after she married David, her husband. In 1970, after her father’s untimely death, they moved back to England and lived there for seven years. In 1978, they returned to Winnipeg with their three small children. Twenty-three years ago, they bought a cottage in Lester Beach, a scenic community on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, and, fourteen years later, they built a year-round residence there.
When asked what prompts her to write, Brough said, “I’m inspired by the stories of strong women in my family’s past, who led interesting and often courageous lives.”
During her time as a student, English literature and creative writing were always her main focus. As well, she studied higher level English at night school for six years, while she worked during the day. She said, “I was fortunate to have a wonderful teacher, who encouraged my storytelling and helped me develop writing skills.”
Since 2017, Brough has published three novels: The Prussian Captain, The Welsh Guardsman, and The Bitter Sweet Life of Annie Jenkins. The first two novels have been recently recorded as Audio books. The response to her stories from all over the world has amazed her. She said, “I’ve even found distant cousins who I now correspond with regularly.”
These days, almost everybody she meets tells her their family stories, and they often ask how they might begin to write them down. Her son, also an author, gave her the best advice. “Just start writing. Don’t worry about organization, grammar, spelling, or time lines. Write your thoughts down and all the rest can be sorted out later.”
His suggestions helped, although they did cause a great deal of trouble with the chronological order in her third novel. Now she always works on a time line graph, before beginning a new project.
Her final words on her art: “I love to write. It’s my number one hobby, and gives me great joy.”