Creative Writing Lifelong Learning student publishes debut novel

Kathy Biggs

Kathy Biggs

19 October 2022

An author who was inspired to write after taking Lifelong Learning courses at Aberystwyth University has published her first novel.

Kathy Biggs discovered her literary talent when she enrolled on Creative Writing modules at The Wyeside in Builth Wells after being made redundant.

Her novel ‘The Luck’ is an epic generational saga set in America’s Midwest.  Beginning in 1930 when a couple give all they have to make a living from their Midwest farm ‘The Luck’, the story follows the trials and tribulations, heartbreak and joy of the family over three generations.  With themes of love, loss and duplicity, and even murder, the tale is a gripping mystery that unfolds over decades.

Biggs said: “I started writing at the beginning of 2017 after being made redundant. Although I loved the job I'd been in (advocacy for older people) it involved dealing with lots of information - reports, forms, legal documents. I knew that whatever I did next, I wanted it to be something that allowed me to get stuff out of my head rather than put more in. 

“Joining a community of writers helped give me the confidence and commitment to become a published author. What I loved about Aberystwyth University's Creative Writing classes was the insights of its tutors and the diversity of its challenges. Through the modules I took, I learned about writing novels, short stories, poetry, freelance features and scriptwriting, which pushed me to improve my own abilities.”

“Becoming a writer didn't feel like a decision as much as a process, but one thing is certain - the Lifelong Learning classes were central to that process. They unlocked something in me that I didn't know was there, and I am massively grateful to Aberystwyth University and everyone involved for setting me on a whole new career path.”

Aberystwyth University Creative Writing tutor Lara Clough, who tutored Kathy, said: “I am delighted to hear that Kathy is getting her novel published with Honno. As a student of mine, it was evident right from the beginning that she was a skilled, talented and ambitious writer. Here she deftly draws you into the lives and dilemmas of her characters, in an eventful family saga set across the generations in the rural American Midwest.”

Another of Kathy’s former tutors, Chris Kinsey, said of ‘The Luck’: “I was engaged by the characters from the ‘get-go’ and waltzed through their triumphs and tribulations. I was swept along by the fast paced, intricate narrative – the mystery and intrigue are sustained until the very end.”

‘The Luck’ was published by Honno Press on 6 October 2022.  The official book launch takes place at 7pm on Friday 21 October 2022 at Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd Wells.

The Lifelong Learning Department at Aberystwyth University offers a wide range of courses in Creative Writing. From beginners’ courses on the techniques, skills and craft of writing to modules on writing a novel, fantasy and science fiction and getting published.  

Students do not need to have any prior qualifications or experience, and courses are available through a variety of formats - in-person teaching, distance learning, or a blended learning approach.  Students can study individual modules, or work towards a Certificate in Higher Education in Creative Writing.  All modules are university accredited and the tutors have extensive experience of delivering adult education.