April 19, 2005 by

Julia Darling

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Categories: Writers/Editors

jdarling.jpgJulia Darling, an award-winning British writer who chronicled her battle with breast cancer in an online diary, died of the disease on April 13. She was 48.
A native of Winchester, England, Darling was born in the house where Jane Austen died. She studied fine art at Falmouth Art College and was a Royal Literary Fund Project Fellow at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Darling formed The Poetry Virgins, a writers group that performed poetry in “the places that least expected it,” and co-founded the small non-profit making press Diamond Twig Books with Ellen Phethean. She published her first novel, “Crocodile Soup,” in 1998 and became the writer-in-residence at Live Theatre in Newcastle.
Darling penned a series of plays, some of which were broadcast on the BBC, and wrote and/or edited numerous books, including the poetry collection “Sudden Collapses in Public Places” and the acclaimed novel “Taxi Driver’s Daughter.” In 2003, she won the Northern Rock Foundation writer’s award, the largest annual literary award in England. Darling was also the third Poet in Residence at Guardian Unlimited.
Darling was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago. The disease changed her life in many ways and became a fixture in her literary works. To deal with its effects, Darling launched a Weblog in 2002.
“I hate cancer. It’s taken me away from such life. Tonight I’d like to strangle it the way that it is doing to me but I must look at the dark horizon of chimneys out of the window and imagine what is beyond. But count your blessings — a. No pain unless I try and dance the hokey cokey. b. fantastic cusine [sic] cooked by my mother. c. No family arguments. d. No fear. e. Cornflakes and milk. f. Trina’s ice cream. g. my new NHS bath seat and squashy mattress. h. You only have to do death once,” Darling wrote on April 8.
Darling’s “First Aid Kit for the Mind,” was released a day after her death. “The Poetry Cure,” an anthology she co-edited with Cynthia Fuller, will be published on April 28. Her playwriting collection, “Eating the Elephant and Other Plays,” is due for release this summer, and the Northern Stage’s production of her play, “Manifesto for a New City,” will continue touring until the end of the month.
Read Darling’s Weblog
Watch a Short Interview With Darling

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