From Leila’s daughter Jenny

Leila Berg - Reading and Loving cover

Jenny, husband Frank, and son Kit. photo: ©John Walmsley

…my mum has always written ‘auto-biographically’ – every book is a ‘re-living’ in her head, and then on paper, of an event that she has been a part of or a witness to. Her earliest books were always based on my brother and myself as young children in the 1940’s and 50’s, along with our friends and other characters in our daily lives. Conversations, questions, answers and events were all picked up and used to make a ‘living’ story. The cats were our cats, the dogs were our dogs, the homes were our homes – and later the children were mine and my brother’s children, and friends’ or relations’ children. This pattern was essential to her passion for writing ‘true’ stories. And later on in her life, although she was fairly frail, she started up The Wivenhoe Writing for Pleasure Group in her cottage, whose work over many months became locally published, edited by Leila, and entitled ‘Backwards and Forwards’ – her novice writers being taught by her to re-live events and episodes in their own lives – to ‘feel’ what they were writing about. That is how she always wrote – with love, care, understanding and passion, throughout her extraordinary career.