Donna Jones MBE, writer and artist from Sheffield, has recommended WEA creative writing courses in a BBC Radio Sheffield interview on Paulette Edwards’s afternoon show, where Donna spoke about her latest book entitled Blue Devils. Donna says the WEA creative writing course with tutor Liz Cashden inspired her to publish the book, where Donna writes about her own family life experiences, which include having to cope with mental illness in her family. The book is a mixture of poetry and prose on the subject of alcohol abuse in the family.
Donna says: “After I took early retirement I knew I wanted to do something creative. Since attending the WEA creative writing course I have been inspired both by Liz's constructive criticism and the support of other members of the group. Since joining the class I have written 45 poems, which is amazing, and was inspired to self-publish my book ‘Blue Devils’. I have been inundated with emails from people who want to read it, and who have had experiences of mental illness within their families.”
During the interview at BBC Radio Sheffield, where Donna mentioned she attends WEA Creative Writing classes she says “Listen folks get yourself on those courses, there absolutely fantastic. If you’re unwaged its three pounds, worth every single penny we are very supportive of each other and just have such a laugh, some of the things we write are so funny”.
She finds that the WEA course is a fantastic learning and social opportunity and has enrolled with tutor Liz Cashden for second term of creative writing classes.
Donna says “The WEA course is more than a class. We laugh, write, read our writings and bring food. I have developed wonderful friendships and we go to as many of the open mic events as we can to read our own work and listen to other writers; as well as entering competitions. My poem ‘My Father’ was in the local ‘Now Then’ magazine and I sent one of my poems to Michael Glover, from Bow Wow Shop. This is an international poetry forum and the poem is going to be published in the summer. I am so excited about the potential for further writing and publishing, and am now working on a poetry book which will be called ‘Silent Wisdom’.
Without the local WEA none of this would have happened.”
Donna Jones was awarded an MBE for her 31 years of dedication working with young people in the Sheffield youth service.
Donna is also involved in a project called “Do One” where she is giving away 365 of her genuine artworks, one for each day of the year. She is using her passion for art to compose a painting each day and drive off in her graffiti car (pictured) to share her artwork with others. She told The Star “I believe everyone should have access to original artwork. I want other people to do one and pass it on and cheer up Sheffield.”
To read an article in the Sheffield Star newspaper about Donna Jones and her past experiences, which have shaped her achievements in helping young people, click here.