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Serpent Child

Serpent Child

by Pat Riley


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Serpent Child is the autobiography of Patricia Riley. It describes the life of a child of seperated parents in post war Britain at a time when children were still ‘seen but not heard’ and when even for married parents children were preferably seen somewhere else.
Many children were hurried off to boarding schools, even at a very tender age; and, if they were noticed at all, children could become pawns in harmful, even dangerous parental war games. In an enlightening, at times humorous, and important book, Pat describes a past that is not always past.
‘Children were once viewed as property for the most powerful parent usually the father. Much of the history of family law is the history of the emancipation of children.
‘High Court judge Mrs Justice Parker once remarked how children were too frequently weaponised by their parents, and were ‘child soldiers in the separation war’. It has taken family courts and family justice professionals decades to deal with this chronic weaponising and to help children move into a demilitarised zone within or outside of their family.
‘This is an important book about an issue that is rarely covered in such depth, and I wish it every success.’ Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of Cafcass, January 2019.

Patricia Riley is the author of Looking for Githa, the biography of the ground-breaking playwright Githa Sowerby

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939269874
Publisher: Stairwell Books
Publication date: 11/14/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Patricia Riley's love of theatre was instilled in her from an early age. She has vivid memories of discovering the beauty of language by being taken regularly by her father to the then Shakespeare Memorial Theatre from the age of eight. Both her parents were keen on classical music. Pat was also brought up on the works of Gilbert & Sullivan as her mother sang several of the principal mezzo-soprano roles in amateur productions of these operas. When just out of her teens, Pat was elected Secretary of a newly formed Community Association in the Gloucestershire village where she lived. With others she started a drama group there and she met her husband, a fellow actor, through the amateur theatre. As an adult she obtained degrees in Law, Social Science and a Masters Degree in Management, and pursued a successful senior managerial career in local government and the voluntary sector. On retirement in her early 60s Pat obtained a BA in Theatre Studies from Rose Bruford College. It was during her work for this qualification that she first came across the plays of early 20th century feminist playwright and children's author Githa Sowerby and, finding that little was known about her, she began researching her life. Now in their 70s, Pat and her husband continue their involvement in the amateur theatre, writing, acting and directing, and both work voluntarily for the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre. They have three sons, seven grand-children, and two great-grandchildren.

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