Darling, Julia 1956–2005
Darling, Julia 1956–2005
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 21, 1956, in Winchester, England; died of breast cancer April 13, 2005, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Author. Darling was a poet, playwright, and novelist whose later verses in particular were noted for their empathy for others' suffering. Her life was seemingly marked by literature from the beginning, having grown up in the former home of British Regency novelist Jane Austen. However, Darling did not do well in school and dropped out at age fifteen, although she returned to formal studies briefly at the Falmouth School of Art. In 1980, she became involved in community arts in Sunderland, England, organizing or co-organizing several theatre and performance groups, including the Poetry Virgins, the Sugar and Spikes, and the Women's Intellectual Group (WIG). In 1992 she also started a small publishing house called Diamond Twig, which set out to print the works of North East women writers. Because of her busy schedule, Darling's early writings focused on poetry and short stories, simply because they took her less time to compose than novels. Some of these were collected in her first poetry book, Sauce (1993), and the short-story collection Bloodlines (1995). Moving to Australia after a divorce, Darling began publishing novels, including Crocodile Soup (1998) and The Taxi Driver's Daughter (2003), the latter winning the Northern Rock Writers Award. By this time, Darling, who had returned to England, knew she had breast cancer, and she began exploring poetry again, dealing with her illness by expressing sympathy and empathy for others who were sick. Among these later collections are Sudden Collapses in Public Places (2003) and Apology for Absence (2004), as well as the nonfiction Tangles and Starbursts: Living with Dementia (2001) and the edited anthology The Poetry Cure (2005), a collaboration with Cynthia Fuller. In another collaboration, with artist Emma Holliday, she created the exhibit "First Aid Kit for the Mind." Darling, who had recently also won a Royal Literary Fund fellowship and fellowship in creative writing and health, was also a playwright for both stage and radio. Her plays include Doughnuts like Fanny's (2002) and The Black Path, the latter a BBC radio play she wrote with Sean O'Brien.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Guardian (London, England), April 16, 2005, p. 27.
Independent (London, England), April 16, 2005, p. 43.
Times (London, England), April 20, 2005, p. 59.