Deborah Latham


About me? Well, isn't that what it's about for most people...?

But if you're interested in a thumbnail sketch of this particular face in the crowd, here's how it looks.

I was born in 1960 and was initially educated at Edenbridge Primary School in Kent (my surname was Wentworth, back then). Even at that stage I was already relishing creative writing; at the age of about seven I wrote a poem that was submitted by the school to a schools radio programme and was read out on air (I still remember the juvenile smirk I wore, wriggling with self-satisfaction on my chair, as this was taking place).

In 1970 (around the time when David Tennant was about to become a gleam in his father's eye, possibly?) my family moved to Somerset, and I attended Court Fields School in Wellington, where my enthusiasm for writing was fostered by my English teacher Peter Turnbull, for whose encouragement I shall always be grateful. (When in my twenties I made a venture into an early form of self-publishing with A Likeness of Danger, it was to him that the book was dedicated.)

I got married to Laurence Latham in 1980, and have stayed that way ever since. Since I had the tremendous good sense to marry a croquet player, this was the route by which I was introduced to the pleasures of Association Croquet (trust me, the fact that I play it shatters any
Deborah Latham, author of ‘Peter McLeish'.
preconception you might have that it's a sport for the elite only!). I have in the course of my playing career (1981-present, though engagement is less frequent now than in days of yore) also submitted many tournament reports and the occasional article to the Croquet Gazette.

Probably the most lasting mark I have left on the world of croquet is to have designed the apparently (if the 2005 newspaper report shown right is to be believed!) now iconic weather vane at Cheltenham Croquet Club.

Club President Edgar Jackson CBE was well-known in croquet circles, not only for his play and his amiable witticisms, but also for his talents as a tournament manager (in which I assisted him to an extent that resulted in him dubbing me his 'Amanuensis'). Following his death in 1994 the suggestion was mooted that a new weather vane portraying his familiar playing stance would be an appropriate tribute to his memory. Designs were invited; mine was the successful submission. Edgar thus continues to preside over play from his vantage point atop the Cheltenham clubhouse.

As an aside, it was my husband Laurence who came up with the concept of a croquet-playing hippopotamus named - inevitably! - Hoopopotamus, leading to the innovation of the first ever strip cartoon in the Croquet Gazette, which he wrote (with occasional contributions from me) and I illustrated, a contribution which lasted from 2002 to 2013.

Weather vane at Cheltenham Croquet Club
On Laurence's website you will find four croquet-related works of fiction (three of which were originally published on the Croquet World Online website) that tick the boxes for both 'imaginative' and 'witty' (depending on your sense of humour, of course) - Reflections on Croquet in Wonderland, its sequels, A Singular Case of Fictional Doubles and A Game Changing Enigma, and Plus Twenty-Six And All That.

I too have an article on the Croquet World Online site - How To Shoot Croquet Players (something that's always potentially useful to know, don't you think?) - but the main thrust of my online presence is in another field entirely; if you want more information on that, please go to my About Doctor Who page.

Like Jenny Gregory in Peter McLeish, I have always been fascinated not just by television and film, but by how they are made and who makes them. Therefore it was a great joy when, for a short period, my job included the making of education-related videos, and I had the pleasure of filming, scripting, editing and narrating a number of these. My personal favourite (if you can afford approximately seven and a half minutes of your life to take a look at it - see if you go goosepimples at the same moment in the video that I always do!) is entitled Tour of Britain South West 2008 Overview; a couple more are available on the YouTube page for South West Tour of Britain, and a more extensive selection still can be found here.

My writing career has also taken an unexpected detour - into children's entertainment! I was one of the successful entrants in the 'Theo the Mouse Writing Competition 2015', and you can see the result here:

Undoubtedly very little, if any, of the foregoing will make any fundamental difference to your life, but hopefully it has been a mildly entertaining way to sacrifice from it the couple of minutes that you have spent reading this.

Thank you for that sacrifice.


Deborah Latham