'An astonishing work' - Joanne Harris
Every parent's worst nightmare became a reality for Ian Clayton. On a short holiday break in Hay-on-Wye he took his nine-year-old twins canoeing, and in a freak accident his daughter Billie was drowned. In a remarkably frank and vivid way Clayton describes what happened on that spring day, his desperate attempts to save his two children, and then what it felt like two years later to come face to face with the men who hired out the canoe.
But Our Billie is not a story of bitterness and recrimination. Instead it's the story of how a family attempts to come to terms with something which makes no sense at all. Through his memories of Billie and his wonderfully affectionate portrait of the small town in Yorkshire where the family has lived for generations, he weaves a story of loss and remembering, of gratitude and forgiveness.
Ian Clayton has been a freelance writer and broadcaster for twenty-five years. His highly acclaimed memoir of a life in music, Bringing It All Back Home, was published in 2007.
He has presented programmes on BBC TV, ITV Yorkshire, the Discovery Channel, and regularly on radio. He has also led workshops in prisons, hospitals, schools and art centres.
Ian was born and still lives in west Yorkshire, with his partner Heather and son Edward. He likes listening to jazz and blues, reading about folklore and music hall, and indulging in tap-room conversation and gentle subversion.