Her key interests are exploration of difference and diversity, and unpicking the irresistible dark underbelly to life – always with a questioning smile. Genre-defying and quirky, her work is infused with her passion as a veteran inclusive arts activist, including a focus on mainstreaming disability creativity.
From a tricky start of childhood illness and disability, Penny’s life has seen her do many crazy things including a two-way correspondence with Morrissey, hitting No 2 in the Greek indie charts – with her band Spiral Sky – and winning an Erotic Oscar.
Currently doing PR and a blog book tour of her e-book release, Desires Reborn, this ground breaking collection of short stories, details the explicit loves and losses, desires and disappointments of a group of disparate disabled characters. Published in the aftermath of the most successful Paralympic Games, and the unprecedented focus it brought on disabled people, Penny’s stories examine disability experience in a serious, sensitive, political and passionate manner. As one reviewer, award winning writer Rob Young declared: “An intelligent examination of desire and universal experience from a new perspective. There is an elegant mind at work here. She distils her passion then filters it through craft without ever losing a drop of its raw emotion. That is a rare skill and should not to be underestimated.”
A regular on the spoken word circuit, she has taken her set to a variety of venues – including guest artists slots for spoken word organisation Apples and Snakes, the Edinburgh Fringe, National Theatre, Liberty Festival at Trafalgar Square, Liverpool DadaFest and festivals around the UK. In 2011 she developed a one-woman spoken word cabaret, which she took to Edinburgh, London and extracts to New York. The show, Adventures in the Dark and Light, reflects Penny’s unique approach to her work and to life. With a cast of reprobate witches, lepers and cripples, cello-playing ghosts, a red ukulele, awkward buses, lovers lost and new ones found…the audience confronts taboos, delves into a world of diversity and identity, and sees life from a very different perspective.
She has featured on radio many times, and is keen to do more. In July 2011 she appeared on Radio 4’s Fourthought, through BBC producer Sheila Cook, who said, “Penny was fantastic and delivered in such a lively, engaging way.” Nick Quentin Woolf, featuring Penny on Radio Xtreme East, says, “Can one have a twinkle in one’s voice? Listen to Penny’s work and you’ll be convinced. The answer is yes.”
Over the years Penny has done several TV slots focusing on her work and as a commentator. In March 2012, she appeared on a Channel 4 News item detailing the issues disabled people face when using public transport. During the piece she performed an extract of Bus, one of her most successful comedy performance poems.
Besides a lifelong passion for writing, Penny’s performance skills were developed professionally at London Metropolitan University, Graeae Theatre Company, and The Guildhall School of Music, Speech and Drama.
Penny has a huge back catalogue of three novels, hundreds of short stories and poems waiting to be published, an while eager for more work as a performance poet, she is currently finalising her novel Fancy Nancy and working on her memoir First in the World Somewhere.”