The Fence (working title) is Debbie Ballin's first novel. It was written whilst she was on the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and completed in Jan 2018.
Forty-something archivist Anna arrives at her mum’s house, to drop her children off, only to find she is missing. On the kitchen table are a pile of letters sent to her mum after the death of her closest friend Neets. Through the letters, Anna unravels hidden details of her mum’s past and childhood memories start to surface. Anna sets off on a quest to find her mum, come to terms with her childhood and make sense of the rift in their relationship. The novel is set in present day Sheffield, late 50s Cornwall and Greenham Common in 1983
The Fence explores themes relating to the legacy of the Greenham Common movement, childhood experience of protest and the personal costs of political activism.
The Fence deals with themes of mother-daughter relationships, sexuality, gender, childhood bullying, infidelity, loss and betrayal. It explores the legacy of the Greenham Common movement, childhood experience of protest and the personal costs of political activism. Archival materials relating to Greenham Common in The Women’s Archive at the LSE informed the development of this novel. It extends in fictional form questions about children and protest examined in the collaborative project Echoes of Protest.