Naomi Lewis: Times Online Obituary


Naomi Lewis Obituary

Naomi Lewis - essayist, anthologist, reteller, poet and reviewer - has died aged 97.
When I first started being invited to children's books events (launches and parties) in the mid 1990s, Lewis was a regular guest -slight, somewhat hunched (she would already have been in her late 80s), usually wearing black velvet slippers. It is only recently that I had begun to mark her absence, and indeed wondered if I had missed an obituary.
We often found ourselves together, both making the same enquiry when the the trays of finger food came round (she was a vegetarian).
She lived for literature and animals, and spent most of her life in Red Lion Square. I very much regret not making her the subject of an ACHUKA feature, while she was still in her flat and still actively writing, reviewing and lecturing.


PS The window box is no longer there - the landlord of Halsey House objected to it - but the garden outside Omnium Court, 20 Princeton Street, WC1, remains in her honour. Watering is undertaken by myself and a rota of neighbours from Culver House opposite. Feel free to add anything without asking. And try to keep the garden in the rather chaotic style which is chosen to echo that in which she preferred to keep her domestic life!

My late father had a car parts shop in Red Lion Square, and was regularly visited by Naomi Lewis, who would drop in and offer my Dad children's books she had reviewed to pass on to me (who she had never met!) All offerings were gratefully received and my father and myself were charmed and delighted to have this personal link with so talented and special a lady. I wish I had met her but read lots of her writings with pleasure.

Until 4 years ago she was totally determined to remain independent, accepting help only from a few chosen friends - especially Eric, Richard (RIP) and Ann. But then she broke her arm and started accepting help from neighbours, friends and council carers. This led to a new phase in her life where she was accepting all sorts people daily into her home, and keeping them enchanted with anecdotes, stories from her past, and encouraging them to write poetry. She had the uncanny knack of giving her visitor the feeling that there was only one celebrity in the room, and that was the visitor! Of course we all loved her and miss her greatly. There is in her honour a window box outside 3 Halsey House, and a garden in front of 20 Princeton Street.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on July 11, 2009 10:26 AM.

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