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Tributes & MessagesTom Shakespeare

I feel so lucky to have had Julia in my life for the last dozen years. She had more energy, enthusiasm and beauty in her than almost anyone I have ever known. She was a great writer, with a highly intelligent and contrary view of the world, who had a special talent for visual word magic. She was a wonderful companion, who was interested in everyone, and made all her friends and audiences and readers feel valued and privileged, even when she herself felt weary and frustrated.

Julia was before everything, a very giving person. In 1997, when I spent six months bed bound, she visited me more than any one, knowing what it’s like to be trapped in a failing body: when she asked me to be the first reader of the manuscript of Crocodile Soup, it made me feel special and useful, not forgotten and isolated. Over and over again, she listened to me talking about my writing, and was full of encouragement, and the fact that she had faith in me gave me the best reason to believe in myself. Dozens of others benefited from the same generosity.

So, thank you Julia Darling: for giving us stories, and plays, and especially your marvellous poems. Thank you for letting so many of us become a part of your extended family (and thank you Bev and Scarlet and Florrie for welcoming us too, and for sharing your Julia with so many others so graciously). Thank you, Julia, for showing us how to live better, and for helping us understand how to die well. Thank you for giving us yourself.

Good bye dear Jools.

Tom Shakespeare