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Picking the Bones with Margaret Holbrook.
Friday 26th June 2015 @ 16:39 by Anna Fletcher
Poet's Corner


Margaret Holbrook is delving into the folk tradition in her new novel ‘Picking the Bones.’

The book contains nine short stories crafted in the folk tradition. A talking oak tree, a cat with a knack for giving advice and a crow with plans are just a few of the wonderful characters splashed across the pages.

Margaret has always loved folk tales and has dedicated the book to her grandmother who used to tell them to her as a child.

Margaret said: “She was always telling us stories that she just made up and we still remember them so I dedicated it to her because I think her telling me these stories ignited a bit of a flame in me.”

Crow Song, which was the first story Margaret penned is also her favourite in the book and was inspired by a crow that visits her home every day. There is even a picture of the bird on the back of the book.

Margaret also gave us a sneak peek into the last story in the book, Mirror, Mirror saying: “It all starts on a couple’s seventh anniversary, I won’t give too much away, but the idea came from myself thinking mirrors are kind of spooky.

“You can look into a mirror and see yourself and your room, but at the same time it’s like another room in there you’re looking at because you see it from different angles.

“There are also all these superstitions surrounding mirrors; if you break one it is seven years bad luck and people used to cover mirrors in thunder and lightning. I remember all these things from my childhood and that was the inspiration for that.”

Margaret often reads her stories aloud at events which these stories in particular lend themselves quite well to.

“There’s definitely a resurgence of story-telling and spoken word, a lot of it is associated with poetry and that’s had a real upsurge,” explained Margaret, “I’m hoping there will be more places allowing you to read short stories.”

As a writer, Margaret has a wide expanse of ability, writing short stories, poems, novels and plays and in September will see one of her plays, ‘Sandy’s Ashes,’ a comedy set after a funeral performed onstage.

But that isn’t the only thing she has to look forward to as the hard-working writer also has a children’s book on the way.

‘Hurricane Jess’ is written by Margaret and illustrated by artist Karen Ross and follows the exploits of Jess, who is a bit of a whirlwind, and what she gets up to on a Saturday morning while her parents are having a lie-in.

Margaret will also be appearing at Hyde Library in the town hall in July.

For more on information on her upcoming events or where to buy her books visit

Win a copy of Picking the Bones in this week’s (25 June 2015) Tameside Reporter out now.