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Jo Stanley

Consultant in maritime history and creative lifestory

My other lives

I have been writing non-fiction flat out for far too long now. But among my other sides are these.

Re-texturing history

Making textile art, with historical photos transferred to fabric. This seems to me to be a way of adding another dimension to history, especially using old clothes and photoshopped images.

Writing fiction

Whenever I can I write short stories, and often publish them under pseudonyms. 'Lying creatively' is a great way of taking time out from being a teller of literal truths, as a historian. And it's a way to weave and explore all the things that I discover that have to be off the record.

I used to write a lot of fringe plays and enjoyed having them performed. I've even got an MA in Modern Drama. Exploring with actors and directors is so eye-opening that I hope to do more plays soon.

Doing performance poetry

There's something so exciting about speaking/dancing/miming something, not just writing a straight history book. My next few years, I hope, will involve lots more use of open mic nights and playing with idea of uttering sounds, not just words.

And the rest …

  • I go walking by the reservoirs five minutes away
  • I draw with pastels
  • Gossiping with mates is one of my favourite activities, especially over cocktails and cake
  • Yes, I am that stereotype, a woman with a cat - and proud of her, Amber.

If I could do anything I'd

  • Have been a feature film director
  • Make our too-big garden an atmospheric one, with the help of many creative green-fingered experts
  • Get my health back
  • Organise peace and justice in the world. Now. Just like that.


Fred and Rita - silver wedding

Fred and Rita's honeymoon

Bridge in snow blakely reservoir

Bridge in snow, Blakeley reservoir

5anarchist sheep in our garden, Pennines

Anarchist sheep in our garden, Pennines