St Albans author inspired to write by teacher

Liz Baddaley and her book

Liz Baddaley and her book - Credit: Archant

IT is said you always remember an inspiring teacher – and first-time author Liz Baddaley certainly does.

Following the publication of her first book, The Finding of Freddie Perkins, Liz, whose family home is in Hatfield Road, St Albans, has praised her sixth form teacher whose encouragement set her on the writing path.

Liz grew up in St Albans and attended Oakwood JMI School and St Albans Girls School before studying English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford.

She has always enjoyed writing and received a huge amount of encouragement from teachers at both her schools. She said, “I was lucky enough not just to have good teachers but one or two real allies.

“There were a few people who, at key stages in my development, understood me, believed in me, and came alongside me to challenge me to aim higher.

“I’d particularly like to thank one of my A-level English teachers at STAGS, Mrs Asher, for her passion for literature and her brilliant encouragement.” Since publication, Liz has been invited by STAGS to speak at the school’s A-level prize-giving ceremony in December.

Liz also maintains close links with St Paul’s Church, St Albans, which supports The Sanctuary, an Ilkley, Yorkshire-based Christian centre that Liz now runs with friend, Jill Andrews.

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The Finding of Freddie Perkins is aimed at children aged eight to 12 but many adults have been reading it too. It tells the story of Freddie, whose mother dies and how he finds himself “dragged up to Scotland to live with his granny.” It’s there that his adventures begin.

Liz has had some very encouraging reviews for the book including one from the Irish Examiner which described it as “magical and heart-warming”.

She has been writing professionally since graduating in 2001 but this is her first work of fiction. She worked for local homelessness charity Watford New Hope Trust before going on to be a staff writer for international development organisation Christian Aid in London.

In 2010 she moved to Ilkley in West Yorkshire to set-up and run The Sanctuary. Her beautiful new surroundings provided fresh inspiration – and the book itself nods to her personal situation as it opens with Freddie moving from London to Scotland to start a whole new life.

But the real motivation for writing the story was far more prosaic. It was a present for a friend which she created alongside a number of other home-made gifts as it was her first Christmas self-employed and therefore on a lower income.

The full story of how the book came to be published is at

The Finding of Freddie Perkins, published by A&C Black (Bloomsbury), is available for £5.99 in paperback.