By Cathy Galvin
In September 2020 an excited Uschi Gatward wrote to me to share the news that her debut short story collection was finally going to be published by Galley Beggar Press. Like many short story writers, Uschi had faced enormous difficulties in finding a publisher, noting “not a single agent was interested in me!” But last year, the publication of English Magic was met with critical acclaim.
Here at the Word Factory, I looked forward to inviting her to be a mentor for an emerging short story writer in 2022. Uschi had been a friend of the Word Factory from the very beginning, and in 2014 won our Apprentice Award, mentored by short story champion, writer and publisher Nicholas Royle, who had already spotted her huge potential.
I loved her writing, valued her wisdom and her bluntness when she felt something was wrong. Her death from cancer is deeply shocking. Uschi will be deeply missed by all of her writing friends. On behalf of her Word Factory colleagues, I want to extend our deepest condolences to her family and close friends — and celebrate our own dear comrade. We will ensure her work is remembered this year during our 10th anniversary.