Wendy Pollard left school at 16, and, after some routine first jobs, landed what was supposed to have been a temporary secretarial summer post at the recently established Independent Television News. By that autumn, she had become the sole Assistant to the News Editor, and remained on the newsdesk for a further five stimulating years.
After marrying and leaving full-time work, she enrolled with the Open University gaining a first-class honours degree, majoring in literature. In the course of this, she became increasingly aware of the gulf between an author’s academic and popular acclaim. She was awarded a Ph.D. on this topic from the English Faculty of the University of Cambridge. This was later published as Rosamond Lehmann and Her Critics: The Vagaries of Literary Reception.
She considered herself extremely fortunate to have found an ideal subject in the novelist and critic Pamela Hansford Johnson, and to have had the full co-operation of the latter’s family, in order to continue her interest in the reception of writers renowned during their lifetime but now virtually forgotten. Her aim was to write a biography designed to appeal to the general reader as well as to the academic market, and she hopes to continue in this way.
Endorsements for Pamela Hansford Johnson: Her Life, Works and Times:
“It’s very readable and superbly well researched … I certainly found Wendy pollard’s portrayal of PHJ’s life to be fascinating – I have only touched very briefly on it here – but it is testament to her biographer’s skill, that I feel I really got to know PHJ.” From the blog Heavenali.
“A revaluation [of Johnson’ profile] is clearly required; Pollard’s sympathetic, judicious and informed biography makes a major contribution to this, bringing Johnson out of [Dylan] Thomas’s and [C.P.] Snow’s long shadows.” Nicolas Tredell, PN Review 223
“A readable and enjoyable book: Pollard writes with real knowledge, insight and balance, and a nice dry wit.” Professor Jenny Hartley, University of Roehampton
Wendy was a finalist in the 2014-15 People’s Book Prize for Non-Fiction
Here are a number of comments from the voters:
“An excellently written, beautifully drawn biography of Pamela Hansford Johnson, Wendy Pollard has certainly researched this wonderful writer well.”
“Just a superbly researched volume based on diaries never before scrutinised by other biographers.”
“Wendy Pollard’s excellently written biography brings Pamela, her work and views to life within the political and cultural context of a formative time for modern Britain.”