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Thursday, 16 December 2010

For A Former MA Student of Creative Writing - Geri Lambert, R.I.P.

Geri Lambert – Former MA Student of Creative Writing at Kingston University

By Jo van der Borgh

On Tuesday 16th November Geri Lambert passed away after a long battle with cancer at Guy’s Hospital.  The last time I saw her was at the end of September with a mutual friend, Emma Strong.  It was at the hospital and she was full of life, her hair curly from the chemo.  It suited her.  She spoke of her writing plans, the food she missed, the people she missed; her dear partner Trish and her mother.  She generously told me I was born to be a mother, as I gave my little, then eight month son Oscar a tub of baby food he wasn’t enjoying at all!  Emma had her little Eva with her and Geri was enjoying the makeshift nursery atmosphere.

I first met Geri when she bounded into the room where I sat on my own waiting for our first workshop with Todd Swift.  Within moments I was told all about her background.  How she had given up a lucrative career as a sales director to pursue this MA in creative writing and how she wanted to give her idea of being a writer a chance.  I was told about her horses.  They were very important too.  The thing that struck me most was her immense zest for life and enthusiasm, something that never left her until her dying day.  Even the texts she sent about the next op she was about to have were optimistic.  She would never give up on anything.  This was also true of her writing.  When shortlisted by ITV for Alan Titchmarsh’s show last year for her book ‘The Donut Girls’, she already knew of the cancer, but she went on undeterred.  ‘It’ll take me mind off it,’ she said jovially.  She never was published, but she came so close, sparking interest from well known agent, Luigi Bonomi.  Sadly, in the end, the operations and treatment had to come first.

Geri, another former MA student Guy de Ferrer and I spent a long weekend at my parents’ home in Kerry, Ireland about a month before she told us she had cancer.  We workshopped, drank wine and ate lots of food with cream in it prepared by resident chef Guy. We went for walks on Ross beach.  Guy turned his hand to poetry and Geri started a sit-com.  Geri spoke a lot about Ireland and her Irish partner Trish.  It was a great weekend.  I’m glad we were all ignorant of her cancer then.

We all miss her dearly.  The post-MA workshops, started by Justine Brown, most regularly attended by Geri, even though she had the longest commute to Kingston from Rottingdean on the Sussex coast, will never be the same again. 

Rest in peace Geri Lambert, you are an inspiration to us all.
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