Gladstone's Library, Hawarden

By Rhian Waller - Gladstone's Library PR and marketing

If you are an aspiring author, don't give up - no matter where you are in your life.

Sarah Smith, author of Hear No Evil, will arrive at Gladstone's Library next month to begin her stay as Writer in Residence.

She will give a talk about her novel on July 11, centring on the task of researching and writing Deaf history for her debut novel, but in the meantime, she shared her experiences of the long road to publication.

She said, "I've always written. I loved English at school, read widely and I went to University to study English in the mid-1980s. I originally trained as an English teacher but through a series of life events I fell into working for a range of projects which were all about supporting Disabled people moving into education and employment.

"While I was doing all of that, having a family and earning a salary, I was still writing in my spare time. In my 20s and 30s I thought I wanted to be a poet, then I started writing short stories and flash fiction and experimenting with different ways of finding my voice."

By 2010 Sarah had a few short pieces published and had written a children's book about dinosaur eggs discovered in Glasgow which was longlisted for a book award, but she could not find a publisher for it. She also had a half-finished adult novel, which she said 'wasn't really working'.

She said: "It took me a long time to work out that writing is one thing and publishing is another. Even when writing is difficult and challenging, it's yours and you can direct it, but getting something published is down to somebody else. I felt my writing improved hugely when I stopped trying to write within a particular genre or write towards publication."

Sarah decided to return to university to do an MLitt and kept writing other projects.

She said: "It doesn't always help to put all your dinosaur eggs in one basket! The course was amazing because it gave me the space to workshop the experimental stuff I'd written and talk to people who would tell me the truth and give me ideas about where to go with it - and I'll talk about that during the evening talk…"

Sarah completed the meat of her debut novel Hear No Evil with the support of her tutors and peers on the course. As Sarah was now working with a clearer idea of who to approach, the book was picked up and published by the Two Roads imprint of John Murray Press.

The book centres on a Deaf woman accused of dropping a child into the river Clyde in Glasgow. It was shortlisted for a clutch of awards; the Crime Writers Association Historical Dagger 2023, the Bloody Scotland Debut 2022, and the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown 2022 and received acclaim among Deaf community circles.

Writing Deaf History takes place on Thursday, July 11, from 7pm-8pm. A BSL interpreter will be present.

View-online tickets are available for £10. In person tickets are available from £15. Dinner and book bundles are available. Visit the Events page on to find out more.