Susan Elkin is a journalist, critic, author and former teacher of secondary English.
Born in Oxford, she grew up in South London, lived in Kent for many years but is now, very happily, back in South London. She married Nicholas Elkin, a local lad, in 1969. When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2017 he gave her permission to blog about his illness. Those blogs - posted weekly for 28 months until his death - are what forms Susan's new book The Alzheimer's Diaries to be published on 29 November 2022.
Susan trained as a teacher at Bishop Otter College, now part of the University of Chichester. Later she did a degree - arts and English Literature - with the Open University and achieved First Class Honours. She also has an MA Lit (Open University) in 19th century poetry.
Around 1990, having taught for over 20 years, Susan began to moonlight as a journalist and writer and soon gave up her senior management post and went part time to accommate her new career - finally leaving teaching in 2004.
She has written extensively for most of the national dailies including The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent and The Sunday Times. She wrote the Education Notebook column in Daily Mail for 11 years and was eduction editor at The Stage from 2005 to 2016. She has also written for a wide magazines from The Woodworker to Cat World and from She to Kent Life. Today she concentrates on arts magazines and websites - publishing an average of 25 items a month including her own blog Susan's Bookshelves.
Susan also has many books to her name including Please Miss We're Boys, a teaching memoir published by The Book Guild in 2019. She has written around 30 text books and English Literature study guides, now published by Hodder Education, how-to books for teachers, a careers book for students and a biography of an arts and crafts woodworker - among other things.
She has two sons, four granddaughters and a tabby and white cat named Dave.
‘A third presence has arrived in my marriage. Ms Alzheimer’s – I think of her as a hideous, brain-eating monster – has come to live with us. Permanently.’
In April 2017, Susan’s husband Nicholas was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was followed by 28 months of relentless, rapid decline culminating in Nicholas’ death in August 2019.
The Alzheimer’s Diaries (originally published as a blog) charts the progression of his illness, from diagnosis to the funeral. Susan dubbed the illness ‘Ms Alzheimer’s’ and describes the hateful impact on the man she loves.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK one person in 14 over the age of 65 has dementia, and in this thought-provoking account, Susan unflinchingly shares her story.
Susan Elkin is an author, journalist, theatre critic and former teacher. She has written extensively for most of the national dailies, many magazines and has over 50 books to her name. She wrote Education Notebook in Daily Mail for eleven years and was Education Editor at The Stage until 2016. Her teaching memoir Please Miss We’re Boys was published by the Book Guild in 2019. She lives in south London.
Reflecting on seventy years of voracious reading, All Booked Up invites you to reflect on the transformative power of literature on a life through fifteen captivating chapters, each focusing on a different book.
Opening with Five Go Off In A Caravan, the very first full-length novel that the author read, and ending with Miss Benson’s Beetle, a recently admired book, you’ll encounter beloved classics such as Rebecca, which marked the author’s teenage years, as well as reflections on The Light and the Dark during her college days. Along the way, enjoy reflections on learning to read, teaching others to read, becoming a vegetarian, falling in love, motherhood, music making and much more.
Whatever the author did, wherever she went and whoever she met, books were always at the heart of it – this memoir will appeal to anyone who finds solace and joy in the world of reading.
A former English teacher, Susan Elkin has been a professional author, journalist and critic for over thirty years. Books and reading have always been central to her life and work. She has written over 5,000 articles for national newspapers, magazines and websites and her 50 books include The Alzheimer’s Diaries (The Book Guild 2022). Susan lives in London.