From esteemed neurosurgeon to lung cancer patient

From Dr Kalanithi, esteemed neurosurgeon at the prime of life and career to Paul Kalanithi, patient with irrevocable lung cancer.  When Breath Becomes Air will take your breath away at the sheer irony of this true life story.

It’s tragedy enough to be diagnosed with cancer yet to be on the receiving end, when it had been your job to remove cancers from others was particularly cruel.

Writing his story was the one thing that kept him going during the relapses. His goal was to complete the book for his daughter, Cady and his powerful message on life and death was so compelling that Vintage published it.

“When you come to the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself… do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy… a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied.”

No doubt this book will be at the bedrock of Cady’s  life and quite possibly the reason for her future success.

Literary Lifestories can help turn your words into a story – the story of your life. Gift vouchers also available – a true gift of a lifetime!

Get in touch: or 07765805532

#whenbreathbecomesair #paulkalanithi #vintage #penguin #randomhouse #neurosurgeon # surgeons #nhs









A Nun’s Story

Shirley Leach had it all – wealth, health, success and even true love. A rosy future indeed lay ahead for the once debutante. But with a heavy heart, Shirley called off her wedding to the very eligible Jeremy. Why? Because she answered a calling to become a nun!

Sister Agatha’s life story of choosing poverty over privilege will leave you humbled. The moment my heart broke while reading her memoir ‘A Nun’s Story’ was when her ex-fiancé, told Shirley that he would become a monk, just so that he could still see her possibly from time to time, and he meant it.

Your life story too might include moments of apparent madness only to reveal fate’s great plan. If so, or even if not – something can be learnt from  every life story, so why not turn yours into a book.

Get in touch with Literary Lifestories today for the magic to begin:


m: 07765805532

#richardnewman #johnblakepublishing #anunsstory #sisteragatha

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And… though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good…

… Christmas! as described by Scrooge’s nephew in A Christmas Carol. I’ll be reading this Christmas ghost story at dusk to my little ones – Christmas Eve!

We recently went on a Charles Dickens walk through our local high street with Paul Baker from London and Barnet Walks ( ) and discovered some great local links; such as the step Oliver Twist sat on when he met the Artful Dodger.

To think this literary great found inspiration… literally on our door step! A merry Christmas to you all. And if you want to make 2018 the year you write your life story – do get in touch for a no obligation, friendly chat.



#GrannyWisdom – don’t let their knowledge and wisdom remain a mystery!

#GrannyWisdom Literary Lifestories with Granny Nonna, circa 1980s…

Social media was set ablaze recently with people getting involved in a conversation using the hashtag #GrannyWisdom . YouTubers, Instagrammers, Twitterers, Facebookers and Snapchatters, asked their grannies a whole host of questions as part of an experiment to link the generations.

While writing her book titled ‘Doing It’, YouTuber, Hannah Witton spoke to both her grandmother and great grandmother for one particular chapter and this is what Hannah said: ‘If I wasn’t writing the book I don’t think I would have had the excuse to talk to them about that kind of stuff…’

Literary Lifestories can help you write your life story, or even your grandmother’s life story – so that their (and your) experiences, knowledge and wisdom becomes history, rather than remain a mystery! Get in touch today:

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‘I wish I had done it sooner’

In a recent episode of my favourite programme, Greg Davies unearthed the story behind a mysterious great grandfather who was always referred to as ‘the butcher’.

Greg Davies on Who Do You Think You Are?

One of the genealogists on Who Do You Think You Are? told Greg an important thing: ‘You’re finding out about the human stories behind the names.’

Greg’s last words on film were these: ‘I wish I had done it sooner’. The reason he regretted not starting his ancestry search sooner was because, his father would have loved to hear the stories about their distant relatives. Sadly he never will, because a number of years ago he passed away.

So the message from Literary Lifestories to you today is this; start writing your life story now – we can help you! Today will be the future’s fascinating insight into history.


#literarylifestories #lifestory #lifestories #WDYTYA





‘I feel more secure’

These were the words of Sir Ian McKellen, tonight’s star of Who Do You Think You Are? – ‘I feel more secure’. The actor’s response came after discovering that his great grandfathers included an actor, an artist and a reformer who gave us the weekend! Fascinating.

So this is yet another reason why you should write your life story today – it will give your descendants a sense of security, and from a much earlier age, which is always needed I think…

From strangers to friends via the written word

This is a wonderful clip showcasing the creation of a retired primary school teacher – a beautiful travelling library, specialising in children’s books!

Here is a translation of what the Italian book enthusiast says:
“…because children who were once strangers, in the end become friends, they become familiar with each other, they know each other without even meeting, through the words written…”

And in Italian, it’s like another song: “…perche bambini sconosciuti fra di loro, a la fine diventono amici, diventono familiari, si conoscono senza conoscersi, atraverso le cose che scrivono…”

Who are you? #whodoyouthinkyouare #wdytya

Well,  if I were to answer this question in terms of ‘who were my grandparents’ last month I found out more about my paternal grandfather, born in 1915 and died in 1985.

His brother’s son, Ciro (my father’s cousin) came over to London with his wife and as we sat and caught-up, I thought I would ask him some questions about his uncle, my grandfather. My father had told me a long time ago that his father (my grandfather) was adopted by Ciro’s parents.

‘So,’ I asked my uncle Ciro, ‘why did your parents adopt my grandfather?’

‘Well,’ began my uncle, ‘my grandparents met when they were older than most other couples at the time, so they stopped at two children, my father and his sister. My grandfather had a fishing business and needed help with it. One son alone was not enough. So they they decided to adopt a boy from the local orphanage. That would solve two problems with one stone! My father could run his fishing business and an orphan could have a family and place to call ‘home’.’

That orphan was my grandfather. I was fascinated to know the reasoning behind it. My uncle Ciro went on to say that when the boys grew up (his father and my father’s father) and had families of their own, the families remained close. My father and his siblings called Ciro and his siblings – cousins.  But then my father’s family moved to another part of the country.

My uncle Ciro continued, ‘I recall my father urging us to write to our cousins and your grandfather. Whenever we received letters back from your grandfather they always began with, ‘I write from my pen and not my heart…’.’

I was enthralled by this anecdote, and thanked my uncle. It got me wondering, perhaps when duty bounds me to write another email or text message, I’ll also begin this way, ‘I write from my touchscreen and not from my heart…’ with a wry smile as an expression, while thinking of my long departed ancestor.

Happy discovering who you are! #whodoyouthinkyouare #wdytya Remember, Literary Lifestories can help you turn your family history into a story; a tailor-made service, to suit your budget. Contact:


My lovely Uncle Ciro and Zia Sara…





Beautifully created life stories for children

The children’s book series ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ by Isabel Sanchez Vegara are a delight to read, I have found, to a little girl in particular. As soon as I saw the books online I bought the first one available in my local bookshop and here it is:




The author retells Frida Kahlo’s extraordinary life story for little ones. In fact, I too learned how she overcame tragedy to become a world class artist.


Other books in the series include: Coco Chanel, Agatha Christie, Amelia Earhart, Audrey Hepburn and Marie Curie.



Although they all achieved great success in their lives ‘all of them began life as a little child with a dream’.

So if your child wants to be a scientist or a designer or even an artist when they grow-up, the message to them is clear, ‘go for it little ones’!

n.b. Literary Lifestories can turn your family history into a children’s book or young adult fiction book – find out how our literary magic touch can aid understanding by contacting us today…