Our Billie


Every parent’s worst nightmare became a reality for Ian Clayton. On a short holiday break in Hay-on-Wye he took his nine-year-old twins canoeing, and in a freak accident his daughter Billie was drowned. In a remarkably frank and vivid way Clayton describes what happened on that spring day, his desperate attempts to save his two children, and then what it felt like two years later to come face to face with the men who hired out the canoe.

But Our Billie is not a story of bitterness and recrimination. Instead it’s the story of how a family attempts to come to terms with something which makes no sense at all. Through his memories of Billie and his wonderfully affectionate portrait of the small town in Yorkshire where the family has lived for generations, he weaves a story of loss and remembering, of gratitude and forgiveness.

‘Ian has taken the worst experience a parent can endure and has spun it into a love poem of such potency and tenderness that even grief takes a back seat… By the end of it we all love Billie; we all mourn her untimely passing, and we are all enriched for having known her.’ – Joanne Harris

‘The heartbreak jumps out from these pages, but there is hope in them too. Ian’s writing celebrates his daughter’s life, and he, his wife and son have somehow found a way to grieve for her, remember her and include her in their family without being maudlin.’ – Jenni Murray

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ISBN: 978-0141042336
Extent: 268 Pages