I met Julia when she came to Cockermouth in 2003 to do a reading and workshop for Slate on ‘Sympathy and Empathy’. Within minutes of meeting we were nattering over tea and biscuits in Jonty’s café. Although I spent so little time with Julia, I found her to be one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. She gave so freely of her of herself. Her workshop was a revelation. She had twenty-five people (mostly mutual strangers) focused and enthusiastic, working hard, buzzing with ideas. I have never experienced so much good energy at a writing workshop, so much laughter and openness. Everyone went away touched by her special gentleness and vitality. I liked her enormously and wish I had the chance to get to know her better. Notwithstanding her extraordinary oeuvre as a writer, her courage and integrity, she was, quite simply, a lovely person, and the world is a happier place because of her.