Curiosity items inspire author

A Bedford woman who focussed on her writing after suffering a car accident and cancer is to publish her first novel.

Ruth Hogan
Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan, who has done much of her writing in the Eagle bookshop in Castle Road, will see her debut work ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’, published on January 26.

The story is about a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years. Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Aware that he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters.

The novel was inspired by Ruth’s own habit of collecting ‘curiosities’ as well as a news story about items left in lost property.

Ruth was born in Bedford in the house where her parents still live and as a child, read everything she could lay her hands on - which was made a lot easier by the fact that her mother worked in a bookshop.

After studying English and drama at Goldsmiths College, University of London, she worked for ten years in a senior local government position.

A car accident in her early thirties left Ruth unable to work full-time, and convinced her to start writing seriously. In 2012, Ruth was diagnosed with cancer, and unable to sleep due to the chemo treatment, she spent nights writing a novel inspired by two news stories - what happens to lost objects kept in lost and found offices, and what happens to cremated remains when they are left unclaimed. The eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things.

Ruth is a self-confessed ‘magpie’, always collecting treasures and is a huge John Betjeman fan.

The Keeper of Lost Things is published by Two Roads, price £16.99 in hardback.