Bombweed – Thursday 8th February 2019


Thursday 7th February, 2pm

Join Bristol author Maureen Armstrong, for a talk on the remarkable story of Bombweed, the novel she co-authored, adapted from a story first written by her mother.

Entry is free, but space is limited: please book your place by filling in the form below:


About Bombweed

One evening in 1947, Margaret Smith put her two daughters to bed and sat down at her typewriter. The war was over. Her husband, recently “demobbed” from the RAF, was away at college. Now she had time to write.

Over the following months she wrote the novel that was, eventually, to become Bombweed. She created a story of family tensions, love and loss, survival and recovery. Everything was drawn from her own experiences during the previous ten years, she said, although she was clear that it was not an autobiography. Her characters were amalgams of herself and her friends. The incidents really happened, though not necessarily to the people and in the places as told in the story.

In the late 1940s, publishers were not interested in Home Front stories. Their readers were too close to the real thing. They wanted heroics. Margaret wanted to remember the reality of wartime Britain; the struggles and fear, and the love and friendships that got them through. Then, when her husband came back from college, she became pregnant again, and her typescript was put away – but not forgotten.

Twenty years later, Margaret’s life had changed. Her youngest child had died, she had divorced her husband, and both her daughters were married. She had become a school teacher. Through all these changes, the manuscript lay safely on top of a wardrobe. She continued to hope that one day it would be published.

After her death her daughters inherited the typescript. Now, after four years editing, they feel Margaret’s story is ready for a 21st century reader. They hope they have done justice to their mother’s vision and talent.

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