Book an Open Day

Cycle of Success for Dr Loree Westron

FORMER University of Chichester postgraduate student and Associate Lecturer, Dr Loree Westron, has hailed the impact of the university after celebrating the publication of her debut novel.

Launching Missing Words  (Fairlight Books, https://www.fairlightbooks.co.uk/missing-words/), Loree traced the book’s journey back to 2005 when she wrote the first few words while studying on the university’s successful MA in Creative Writing.

Loree praised the impact of “a group of wonderfully talented and inspiring tutors, who introduced me to authors I probably wouldn’t have discovered on my own” – and who encouraged her to experiment with style and form.

The MA experience helped Loree to “blossom” and “to really begin to feel like a writer”, as well as providing a group of writing colleagues who remain close, even after 16 years. 

The novel’s long gestation was interrupted by several other projects, including Loree’s successful PhD studies under the tuition of Professor Alison MacLeod, and a spell teaching on the university’s undergraduate programme – but meanwhile she continued to chip away at Missing Words, which was inspired by a two-year stint working in the Royal Mail’s sorting room in Portsmouth.

Set during the tumultuous summer of 1984, Loree’s novel focuses upon a Royal Mail worker called Jenny who discovers a stray postcard from a boy in Australia to a girl somewhere on the Isle of Wight, begging her forgiveness for an unknown transgression. 

In a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness, Jenny steals the postcard and sets off to the Isle of Wight on her bicycle, hoping to reunite the young lovers before it's too late.

As well as glorying in the landscapes that Loree has come to know and love, the novel is full of her enthusiasm for cycling. Born and raised in Idaho, USA, Loree “met a handsome young Englishman riding a beautiful green bicycle while he was on holiday in the States -- it was love at first sight.” She followed him back to the UK a couple of years later, and has been here ever since. 

Loree’s advice to other writers is “to always read the best in whatever field of writing a person wishes to be published in – so they internalise an understanding of what good or great writing looks like.” 

“I think a lengthy process of redrafting is also essential. Ultimately, I think writers need a good level of self-belief. So if they’ve done the time – reading, writing, redrafting, etc – and truly believe in what they’ve written, then my advice is to persevere. Keep at it. Keep learning and developing the craft.”

Missing Words is available in the UK, both from online and brick-and-mortar booksellers. Online, it can be ordered through Bookshop.org who return a portion of the sale price to the buyer’s nominated real-life bookshop.  The American edition will be published on March 1st, 2022, and is available to be pre-ordered, now, from online and local bookshops. 

Here's what some GoodReads reviewers have said about the book so far:

“a gentle and moving tale with a mystery which will keep you guessing until the end”

“Missing Words is a beautiful story of grace, love, redemption, and resolution”

“a moving story of a woman who was mercilessly hit by Fate”

“The Isle of Wight is a superb setting for the story. The atmosphere of the island is laid out before our eyes in all its glory.”

“Missing Words is a gently, heart-warming journey about self-discovery, overcoming obstacles, and the power of family and community."