A Leeds Trinity Creative Writing graduate is launching her first poetry collection which aims to help anyone trapped in an abusive marriage.

Maria Stephenson (44) started writing the collection, Poetry for the Newly Single Forty Something, while she was trapped in an unhappy marriage, suffering from low self-esteem and depression.

Maria said: “I was trapped in an extremely unhappy, toxic and abusive marriage where my ex-husband was also very dominating and controlling. I poured all my emotions into poetry to survive the trauma. My ex-husband always said my writing was a waste of time and would never amount to anything. After making the decision to leave him on my fortieth birthday, one of the first things I did was apply for the MA in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity. Trinity gave me the confidence to put my work out there. Without Trinity I’m unsure if I’d have ever achieved publication success.”

The collection is separated into three parts. The first part The Caterpillar is about being Trapped in an abusive marriage; part two The Chrysallis chronicles Maria’s escape; and part three The Butterfly was written as she found her freedom and began to live again.

Maria adds: “The collection was put together to help anyone trapped in a bad marriage. It chronicles survival of an abusive relationship, escape and then living again. It just came into being when I realised my experiences may help other people trapped in miserable relationships.”

Martyn Bedford, novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity, said: “Maria is a talented, versatile writer who produced poetry, short stories and a novel during two highly successful years on the MA. But, regardless of form, she always brings a down-to-earth emotional depth to work that – as the title of her collection suggests – is often rooted in personal experience. This publication is a wonderful achievement for Maria and yet another feather in the cap of our creative writing programme.”

Poetry for the Newly Single Forty Something, published by Stairwell Books of York, is available to buy from www.stairwellbooks.co.uk or www.mariastephenson.com for £8.00.

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