Caroline was one of the first poets I met when I came to Norwich in 2006. She was already published and well-regarded then but always had time and attention to give to those around her who were still learning their craft. Caroline won one of the highly sought after places on the 2007 Escalator writer development scheme, which that year focused on writers who had excelled in other areas, but now wished to develop their prose skills. The cohort included journalists, poets, academics, screen writers and more – and Caroline thrived in the group.
Her passion for narrative took her work into the realms of crime fiction as well as drama, and she was an excellent performer of her work too. She left Norfolk a few years ago and took with her the gifts of making friends, connections, new writing and community to the Lakes. We’ll miss her presence and miss the fact there’ll be no more poetry or prose from her.
~ Chris Gribble, former NCW Chief Executive
A tribute from her Escalator friends
Caroline Gilfillan has died. It’s hard to write those words. She was our friend and she brought joy and inspiration and warmth and love to all of us.
We first met in 2007, when ten of us came together to form the 2007 cohort of the Escalator writer development program run by what is now the National Centre for Writing. The friendships we formed during the course of that year, and later as a writers collective we called “Absolute Fiction”, endure to this day and were as much a benefit of the program as were the mentoring and the networking and the advice and support that Escalator embodies. Caroline, a celebrated poet and teacher of creative writing, was the very heart of our group. Over the years, our lives have taken many different directions and Caroline herself moved away from Norfolk but she wrote two crime novels set in north Norfolk, in addition to the poetry for which she was nationally known. Her final collection, “Hail Sisters of the Revolution”, published last year, celebrated another side of her life, as a musician and member of 70s band the Stepney Sisters. She was a woman of so many talents, was our Caroline.
Rest well, Caroline. You will be missed.
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