Sue Wilsea – writer, performer and workshop leader

Welcome to my website! My work is with words, originally as a teacher then as a writer and currently as both.

I am  a highly qualified teacher with long and extensive experience in education ranging from HM prison to Hull University. I have a proven track record in Creative Writing, both as a tutor and a practitioner and perform as half of The Hull to Scarborough Line. Please get in touch if you  are looking for someone to:

  • lead and deliver a writing workshop
  • initiate or contribute to a writing / literature based project
  • edit and / or proof read your writing
  • offer a Spoken Word performance.

All  work undertaken is rigorously prepared, tailored to your needs and delivered to a highly professional standard.

Beware, though…enjoyment and fun always play a key part in whatever I do!  What do you call Santa’s helpers? Subordinate clauses. I’m the sort of person who finds that amusing.


Extract from Staying Afloat

I met my psychiatrist again in the pool. It was only as we drew parallel that I recognised him. It was the nose that did it. Shiny red, as if it alone detached from the rest of his face had been left out in the sun too long, it was aquiline with thin pinched nostrils from which sprouted tufts of grey hair. Having looked up at it countless times from my supine position on the couch, it identified him beyond doubt. That and his size – he was a huge man, well over six foot with broad shoulders supporting a squarish head. So much of that time was still hazy. Binton, Brenton. Branton, something like that. He’d been considered one of the top men in the field, so I’d been told, although presumably he had retired since then. Certainly, he’d got me straightened out and under his supervision my days had reassumed order. I took tablets and we talked. About the pressure of coping with three little ones and Harry away a lot of the time. My difficulty in coming to terms with my roles as mother and wife.

The first time he did it I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was at the deep end, holding onto the side treading water while I took a breather. Dr. B. swam up next to me, touched the side, took a deep breath and flipped over underwater to turn. As he did so, he hooked his thumbs under the back of his swimming trunks and quickly rolled them down then up again. I had a momentary glimpse of his moon-like buttocks glistening white and smiling up at me from under the greenish-blue water and then he was gone. Before long his behaviour became so bizarre that it attracted others’ attention. First of all he started to swim widths rather than lengths, slicing across the lanes of the other swimmers with a frenzied crawl; then he did zig-zags from one end to the other,  turning the whole pool into one vast turbulence; it bubbled and slopped as his massive body flailed about. People had their faces splashed, their heads knocked, they swallowed great mouthfuls of heavily chlorinated water.

They finally took him away when he stood on the diving board and urinated into the pool. I just happened to be watching as he slipped his thingy from out of his funny old-fashioned swimming trunks – they were navy-blue in that sort of fuzzy material with a white cord around the middle – and casually produced this magnificent arc of golden liquid which rose then fell into the water with a delicate pattering sound. It seemed to go on for ages too; later I wondered if he’d had it all planned and had filled his bladder especially. As people gradually became aware of what was happening they froze and all noise ceased; you could just hear this pitter patter like gentle rain splashing into a puddle. For a brief moment, all eyes were on him. There he stood above us on the top board, head thrown back, legs akimbo, a general, a king, while we, his subjects far below, looked up in awe. Then of course all hell broke loose. People started turning away, talking, shaking their heads in disgust; one attendant blew on his whistle and another ran along the poolside and started to climb the steps. Dr. B., having shaken off the last few drops and readjusted himself, turned around and saw his pursuer. With a yell of glee and shouting ‘Bombs Away!’, he ran to the very end of the board and jumped, hugging his knees so that when he hit the water it caused a minor tidal wave to roll towards the shallow end. He then proceeded to swim round and round in circles doing doggy paddle while the two attendants debated how to get him out. Eventually the manager was summoned over the tannoy and along he bustled, a dapper little man wearing blazer, red tie and an air of prim efficiency. Crouching on the pool edge, he attempted to reason with Dr. B. who, having completely ignored him for a good five minutes, then suddenly swam over, reached up, grabbed his ankle and pulled him into the water. Presumably the manager couldn’t swim judging by the fuss he made and the speed with which a lifebelt was thrown to him. It seemed funny to me that a man, especially one like him who was in charge of the place, hadn’t learnt to swim. Anyway, eventually burly reinforcements were summoned and both he and Dr. B., who was by this time behaving properly by swimming quietly up and down in the now near empty pool, were hauled out. Dr. B., looking slightly bemused, was led away by the arm into the office.

Completely bonkers, round the bend, an utter loony – so I was told people said.

Dr. B. was put away in a private home somewhere which wasn’t fair really. I mean, everyone pees in the water, that’s why it stings your eyes so I’m told, it’s just that most people do it discreetly. As for me, I lost my enthusiasm for swimming. I went less and less often, spending the time lying on the grass outside, reading a book and eating an illicit bar of chocolate. It was what I always used to enjoy doing before the children were born. Of course I’m putting on weight now, as Harry has been quick to point out, but at least I don’t seem to need the tablets as much as before. Even being late for picking the children up doesn’t get me in a flap like it used to. And I laugh more. Just the thought of that golden parabola of pee and all that followed can sometimes make me laugh until the tears run down my face streaking my make-up until, so Harry tells me, I look half-crazy.

I tell him I quite like the way I look.