Through the eyes of Joanna, the charismatic and warm owner of the Bed and Breakfast called ‘Casa Alpujarra’, we catch a glimpse of the lives of the travellers whose paths cross with hers. Curious, yet never judgemental, she is often the confidant of their untold stories and as yet unspoken secrets. She knows well that the house of a welcoming stranger can not only be a place of rest, but by being far away from everyday routines and problems, also a safe haven for reflection, introspection and recognition. With a narrative that can be both poetic and direct, Sue Slipman masterfully paints portraits of lives that emerge one by one, framed by the mountainous and amazing views of the bucolic and sometimes harsh lands of the Alpujarra. In this green, beautiful region close to the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, unique and vivid characters share fragments of their fears, hopes and passions. Slipman’s Tales allow the reader to experience one of the most inherent pleasures of literature – to travel without actually leaving home. They also fulfil the potential in the human soul – recognised since time immemorial through the art of storytelling – to live more than a single life’s experience.
Sue Slipman was born in 1949, in a working-class family. She graduated in English from the University of Wales, and later took a postgraduate course at the University of Leeds and a PGCE at the University of London. She has been a Trades Union Official, run a national charity and a few consumer champion organisations, chaired the Financial Ombudsman Service, set up a couple of trades associations including one for Foundation Trusts in the English National Health Service and is currently Deputy Chair of Kings College Hospital in South East London and Chair of the Kings Health Partners’ Haematology Institute. Campaigner and political activist, she was awarded an O.B.E for services to charity. She was the first woman elected as President of the National Union of Students in the UK. She has had a house in a small village in the Alpujarra mountain range for over twenty years, which she loves, and which inspired her to write the collection of stories Tales from the Alpujarra.