'Pleasantly poetic writing...this novel is written with panache and style.'
— Sue Leonard, Books Ireland Magazine
'Shepperson’s beautiful imagery, combined with the colloquial language used by the characters, really allows the story to flow. A well-written, engaging story.'
—Pure M magazine
'Shepperson’s novella is a light read that leaves the reader intrigued from start to finish.'
—Culture Hub magazine
Vinny’s Wilderness opens in South Belfast with divorced teacher Vinny. She returns to her home to discover that her dearly loved and overgrown garden has been bulldozed and unceremoniously dumped in a skip outside her house. Who is responsible?
We learn of her friendship with the glamorous Alex Masterton, whose son Denzil she is tutoring for the eleven-plus. More interested in the outdoors than in endless practice papers, Denzil struggles against expectations, both at school, and within his rigid family home. The constraints governing Alex’s life as Mrs Masterton are similarly exposed, with a psychologically abusive husband scornful of her supposedly inferior education.
As Alex and Vinny’s relationship develops, both women struggle to come to terms with past hurts and Alex makes a dramatic decision that will affect all their lives. Vinny’s Wilderness is a sensitive rendering of childhood friendship, meditating on the importance and strength of female friendships alongside the curveballs of motherhood.
Janet Shepperson is originally from Scotland. She has been living in Belfast since 1978, and has worked as a trainee journalist, primary teacher, creative writing tutor and facilitator for Poetry in Motion. She is also a widely published poet, with work featured in The Honest Ulsterman, Poetry Ireland Review, The Southern Review, Cyphers, Crannog, The Stinging Fly among others. Her poetry collections are The Aphrodite Stone (Salmon Poetry, 1995) and Eve Complains to God (Lagan Press, 2004). She is also the author of several short stories appearing in Fortnight, Passages, Blackstaff Book of Short Stories 1 and 2, the Irish Press and Sunday Tribune, the latter two being shortlisted for Hennessy Awards.