Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and sixty-second, is of novelist, short story author and playwright Jeannie Van Rompaey. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Jeannie van Rompaey was born in London more years ago than she cares to admit. At the beginning of World War Two, Jeanie and her mother moved to Weston, a Northamptonshire village, where writer, Sir Sacheverell Sitwell, lived. Jeannie was brave enough to show her stories to him and remembers his comments to this day. He complimented her on her use of language and said she had a particularly good ear for dialogue. Imagine the glow of delight on the face of a ten-year-old receiving such praise. All writers need support and assurance and, inspired by that memory, Jeannie tries to carry on the tradition of encouraging new writers.
Jeannie thinks of herself as an eternal student. Her formal qualifications include a Certificate of Education and another in Speech Drama, a BA, a Masters degree in Modern Literature and an R.S.A. diploma in T.E.F.L. As for her informal education that has never stopped. There is so much to learn about this ever-changing world. Jeannie has travelled in Europe, the USA and Australia. She has met people of different nationalities with differing perspectives on life.
Jeannie could also be considered an eternal teacher. She has taught mainly in language schools and universities. While realizing the importance of children’s education, Jeannie feels more suited to teaching adults, which she has done in England and abroad. Passionate about the theatre and literature, she runs workshops in drama and creative writing, is a theatre director, actor and performance poet. As Jeannie Russell, she is a senior member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators and adjudicates at drama festivals in Britain and Europe.
Twelve years ago she came to live on the subtropical island of Gran Canaria with her husband, TJ, an artist and historian. They have had several joint exhibitions of their paintings and the walls of their villa are lined with their own work. Jeannie finds painting relaxing but writing is her priority and much of her time is devoted to writing short stories, poems, plays and novels.
In true ex-pat form, Jeannie belongs to the British Club in Las Palmas and runs a very successful poetry evening there, called “Poems Out Loud.” It is attended by various nationalities including Spanish, Canarian, American, Danish, Swedish and German as well as British.. There is a different theme every month and the members of the group bring favourite poems to read aloud and share with the others. She also runs and takes part in play readings and has started a book club.
Exploring this beautiful island and living in a warm climate make for an enjoyable life, but Jeannie does return to England regularly to see her daughter and friends, to visit art galleries and go the theatre. She loves the buzz of London, so different from the quiet location where she lives.
And now from the author herself: