AS the new year gets under way, three books inspired by the region in different ways offer some great reading.

l The debut novel from Bradford writer Debbie Ioanna is a gritty story about a vulnerable girl who finds herself on the streets of London.

Debbie, 28, who works for Bradford Council, wrote The Runaway Girl in her teens. “It started as GCSE coursework when I was 15; I had to write a short story leading up to someone running away from home. It was my first experience of creative writing and I enjoyed it so much I carried the story on into a short novel,” she says.

“It’s about a girl living at home in Bradford with her mum and stepdad. She’s mistreated by her stepdad so she makes a drastic decision to leave home and move to London - with no money or place to stay. She’s very vulnerable and naïve and is hit by many obstacles. Once in London, she’s pulled into a life of prostitution. Towards the end of the novel she’s faced with a huge twist which threatens to turn her world upside-down once again.”

Debbie’s story had remained on her computer, untouched, for several years until she contacted a publishing company called Gold Wind Ltd.

“They helped me get it published,” says Debbie. “Over the last decade writing has been a hobby. I’ve written many articles, poems and short stories, and am currently working on another novel, this time a supernatural thriller.”

She adds: “Being a published writer has been a dream for a long time. When my book was printed and arrived in the post it felt surreal - I was holding my own book in my hands.”

The Runaway Girl is available on Amazon, paperback and Kindle format and is also available in Bradford libraries. For more about Debbie’s work go to

l John Barry Butterfield grew up in Haworth and following a stroke in 2004 found himself with time on his hands. His collection of poems, It Was Always Haworth, offer an intriguing glimpse into life in the village, from schooldays to reflections in later life.

In Street Games he recollects the “wiz bang” and “crunch tick” of playing out when local roads were car-free, while Mrs Hartfield is an affection tribute, written in old Yorkshire dialect, to a local woman who “wor allus reet gradely”.

“She’d come in t’evening like, all dressed up she’d be, cos she’d play piano and we’d all sing like, she wor lost in that piano, but she certainly could play.”

In Cold Days he describes a winter walk: “It’s snowing harder now, the cold brings a frost, and it is bitter, so bitter, the frost itself brings icicles down like a phalanx of spears”. Tour de Haworth celebrates the spirit of cycling that embraced the county after the Grand Depart triumph of 2014. “Starting time, off we go, chase each other, to and fro...”Back down in Main Street to the start where we met, a quick shower, are the pubs open yet?”

Walking Again, Just is a poignant and personal reflection on recovering from a stroke.”Walking again, just, though I find it hard, over the roads, past the houses, most of which have a good memory, yet I feel good, there’s the house where I watched my first television, I gaze for a while.”

For more about Barry’s work visit

l Finally. Halifax writer Robert Connolly offers a charming children’s tale in Alanna’s Snow Dream.

At first, Snowflakes seems just like any other snowman. All he does is stand, cold and stiff and silent. But then Santa Claus shows Alanna the way to bring him to life, and together they set off with Olka, the white owl, on a magical journey to Fairyland.

Nicely illustrated with child-friendly sketches, this is a delightful story to read to or with a youngster, warming the heart on the coldest winter afternoon.

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Emma Clayton