Brother’s pride at sister’s posthumous dystopian novel

Robert Bulpett with his late sister Heather Bulpett's book Grieftime, which will be published on September 2
Robert Bulpett with his late sister Heather Bulpett's book Grieftime, which will be published on September 2

The brother of a late author has spoken of his pride after discovering his sister’s work on her computer and having it published posthumously.

Robert Bulpett, 66, discovered his sister Heather’s dystopian novel Grieftime – along with other short stories and poems – at her home in Weston Turville after she passed away in April last year.

Now the novel – described by publishers Book Guild as ‘a gripping tale of a futuristic society where life is regulated by the state’ – will be released on September 2, which would have been Heather’s birthday.

Last year Heather, then 57, was rushed to the intensive care unit in Stoke Mandeville Hospital after complaining of a sore back which she thought was down to over-zealous gardening.

It turned out the former Aylesbury High School pupil had cracked a rib, causing her to contract blood poisoning and pass away.

Robert, who lives in Grenville Avenue, Wendover, with wife Sheila, said: “It’s a shame she’s not here to see it, but we didn’t want her efforts to go to waste and lie in a heap of dust.

“But if she were here, she’d probably tell me it’s not the version she wanted printed!”

The retired university research scientist says Heather was ‘fiercely independent’ and was a much-loved auntie to his four children.

He said: “Heather was interested in literature from an early age and always wanted stories read to her. She was always keen that people express themselves properly. She loved Shakespeare and William Blake.”

The writer studied English and drama at Bangor university before spending 20 years as a special projects manager for tobacco firm Rothmans – then in Oxford Road, Aylesbury – before taking up a teaching post at Aylesbury College.

She was a self-confessed cat lover and spent many years as a rehoming officer for the Cats Protection League.

Robert – who is also known as Bob – said: “She was interested in all sorts of things. She loved footpath walking, studying foreign languages, playing the piano and she was very passionate about dancing when she was younger.”

Grieftime tells the story of Lyn, who reluctantly accepts that she must marry again just weeks after her first husband’s death.

Supported by her friend Judith, she acquiesces to her every movement being monitored ‘in her own best interests’.

Into Lyn’s life comes Mikey, a younger man who was once a pupil of hers.

Lyn tries to follow the rules and fit into the wifely role that has been allotted to her, learning how to cope with the exuberant, straight-talking Mikey and his large, boisterous family - something she never had as an orphan brought up in a ‘dump’ home.

But a new relationship is not the only surprise Lyn has to face: she feels as if she is being stalked, and isn’t even sure if she can trust her best friend anymore.

As Lyn’s world unravels, she is comforted by her new husband and supported by her mysterious ‘counsellor’ Dylan.

But who really has her best interests at heart, and can the heavy surveillance she is under ever be justified?

Grieftime is an innovative novel that embraces a world shaped by technology; a world without free will that surely none of us would want to live in.

The novel is available to pre-order on