I have Arthur Ransome and his books about the Swallows (the Walker siblings) and Amazons (the Blackett sisters) to thank for my love of sailing. They are also partly the inspiration for my latest story, "Ruthless," and its principal character, Skip, the captain of an all-female crewed yacht taking part in a round the world yacht race. Her real name is Ruth, but, in common with Arthur Ransome's Ruth Blackett, calls herself Nancy after learning that pirates are ruthless.

The story also evolved out of an exercise, in which Helen, our OOTA (Out of the Asylum) writers' group tutor, encouraged us to write a piece that would pass the Bechdel Test, inspired by Virginia Woolf's reference to Chloe and Olivia in her essay, "A Room of One's Own."

You can read the story here.


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