FROM Sofia to Sunderland, Pru Kitching takes us on an often sad and at times intensely private journey. One moment her writing is dramatic, almost theatrical. Then it makes irony and passion comfortable companions on her global travels.

In this compilation of poems and short stories, which is her first book, she frequently returns to the simple lifestyle of Upper Weardale, where she has made her home. She also recalls her early life in Sunderland:

"Like a dragonfly, this pink balloon was born, took off, flew and died in one day. It came from Sunderland, travelling the miles in search of a party, but was shot down before it arrived. It was August 12th and it didn't stand a chance".

Then in a short story entitled Candles, she writes: "People still believe in God in Sofia. They also believe in the free market and bodyguards. It gives a new perspective on the Holy Trinity."

In a foreword to the book, the Darlington-based publishers write: "This poet writer switches tragic and comic masks with wit and perception." This is an apt comment.

Published: 16/11/2004