Search

Writer’s first novel inspired by chilling story of Victorian serial child killer

PUBLISHED: 14:06 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:06 12 January 2018

Eithne Cullen has written her debut book called The Ogress of Reading with help from Barking and Dagenham's Pen to Print scheme

Eithne Cullen has written her debut book called The Ogress of Reading with help from Barking and Dagenham's Pen to Print scheme

Archant

A South Woodford author inspired by the real life case of a serial child killer has released her debut novel.

Eithne Cullen’s story The Ogress of Reading is part fact, part fiction, and tells of the chilling case of Amelia Dyer, who admitted 400 murders of young children in the 1890s.

Despite the shocking nature of her crimes, Amelia Dyer is still relatively unheard of, something that Eithne, 60, is keen to change.

“Jack the Ripper killed five people, and everyone has heard 
of him. Dyer killed hundreds,” she said.

The horrifying tale centres on the then widespread practice of baby farming, where people were paid to adopt children born out of wedlock, a terrible shame in Victorian times.

However, Amelia did not 
raise the children as promised. Instead she started to drown them in a river.

A police investigation ensued, leading to Amelia admitting her crimes and being executed in Holloway prison, which is where Eithne, of High View Road, picked up on the story.

She said: “I was doing some research on dangerous women 
in Holloway prison when I 
came upon the story which fascinated me.”

Although the retired English teacher has always written 
poetry and taken part in creative writing classes, this is her first published book.

Her efforts were greatly helped by Barking and Dagenham Council, and in particular its Pen to Print scheme.

Run by the council’s library service, the scheme is aimed at anyone interested in poetry, short stories, play writing or novels.

Eithne was given a mentor to help with her work, and credits the scheme as being a big 
help to her efforts.

She is now writing her second book, about obsessive love, entitled Never Not in my Thoughts.

Her advice to anyone interested in writing is, if they have the time, to “go for it”.

Eithne will be launching her book at Barking Library on Thursday, January 18. Free tickets can be obtained from eventbrite.co.uk

The Ogress of Reading is published by New Generation Publishing and is available from Amazon, priced £6.99 in paperback or £4.99 for an ebook version.

Anyone interested in the Pen to Print project can find out more at lbbd.gov.uk.

Latest Ilford Stories

60 minutes ago

Herons recorded a seven-run win over perenial title rivals in exciting encounter

The 24-year-old praised his Tottenham Hotspur manager ahead of England’s Group G opener with Tunisia

15:39

Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews match one on day five of the tournament.

The 48-year-old is impressed with the 23-man squad Gareth Southgate has picked and hopes they can impress in Russia

14:00

Woodford Green got the better of Ardleigh Green in their high-scoring Shepherd Neame Essex League Division Three contest.

37 minutes ago

A Seven Kings woman was stabbed repeatedly by her jealous former lover and left in the street to die as she returned home from work, a court heard.

12:00

Nigeria’s kit seems the standout design for Russia 2018, but how does it rank against other kits?

15:54

The BBC Concert Orchestra is coming to Ilford to perform a family-friendly show.

PROMOTED CONTENT

An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now