A Zither in the Pantry — Jean Kevitt
Published in April — pre-order your copy now
With her Yorkshire dad and Lancashire mum, life in their small terraced house on Minto Street with her five siblings was always going to be quirky for Miss Jean Kevitt. Chaotic and fun-loving, noisy, defined by games and music, they were proud of their dad, a clarinettist in a band. When he wasn’t practising, the Third Programme was on and always loud. They had an assortment of instruments but it was their exotic zither that Jean and her sister Chris fought to play. Where it came from they never asked and Jean assumed every house had one. But their zither—a beautiful object sitting among the mundane mess in the pantry—mirrored the loveliness of their life amidst the clutter at 66 Minto Street.
Not a typical memoir, A Zither in the Pantry is more a collection of short stories, written with humour by this 11-year-old child. It is also a social commentary on working class life in the 40s and early 50s.
Jean is a former librarian, teacher and educational psychologist. She was born and brought up in Ashton under Lyne with her working class parents and five siblings. She spent the early 70’s living in Zambia where her youngest son was born. She has inherited a love of music from her father, a clarinettist in a military band. Jean enjoys a wide range of music from Rachmaninov and Shostakovich to Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Coldplay and her father’s Blaze Away marches. She is an avid reader and keen writer of poetry and memoir, preferring to write in the child’s voice. Jean has been a member of the Stones Room Writers group in Reading for many years. Her previous publications are The Blueskop in the Jacaranda—life on the Zambian Copperbelt in the 1970s (2014) and the poetry collection Polishing his Buttons (2016).