Irene Yates

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Insights into Irene’s life
My mum said I was born with a pen in my hand because I was making up stories before I even went to school and all I ever wanted to do was write them down and read them out.

It seemed impossible in those early days that a working class girl from Brum could ever ‘be a writer’ so I did the next best thing and became a teacher, though the quote from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman –  ‘those that can, do; and those that can’t, teach’ – haunted me. While I was teaching, I got myself a writing tutor. He was, famously, one of the founding writers of Coronation Street, and the first most important thing he taught me was, ‘Write what you know!’

But what did I know? The answer stared me in the face. How to teach! And thus I broke into print through educational publishers and began an exhaustive career teaching all aspects of the English that I love and the grammar that I cherish.

My writing has been eclectic; it’s included radio, newspapers, magazines, books – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama scripts – life has been a whirlwind of paper, publication and plays. I’ve worked as a resident writer in schools – my best gig was an out-of-the-blue week at a school in Cairo – I’ve tutored for correspondence courses, I’ve  run writing groups for all kinds of organisations for profit or  pleasure and still do, and I’m always on hand to edit and proofread for people because, again, it’s teaching! I’m an avid tracker-down of errant apostrophes and commas, of suspect syntax and of horrific hyperbole!

Being lucky enough that my base is close to Stratford-on-Avon, I get to the RSC regularly and I promise you that nothing, absolutely nothing, compares with Shakespeare beautifully produced and acted. If I could win the lottery, my dream would be to leave a legacy so that every single child in the UK would, at least once in their school life, have the opportunity to be inspired and enthralled by the sheer unimaginable magic of the Bard at his home town theatre. It changes lives.

More information about Irene
Irene Yates has been writing books since she was five years old and her passion in life has always been passing on the writing bug to everyone else. So she became a teacher. During her career, she had periods as the Literacy specialist on a Gifted Children project, as a lecturer on NNEB courses and, on secondment to the BBC, as Educational Consultant and writer, always returning to her natural habitat, the primary school classroom.

Irene soon learned that writing about ‘what she knew’ (i.e. teaching and children) was the key to success. Eventually the writing took over from the teaching and now she writes full-time, running writing workshops and writing courses in her spare time, just to keep the teaching bug alive!