Rosie Johnston was born in Belfast and grew up there and by the sea in Portstewart.
In her teens she had an uncharacteristic burst of good sense and decided to train as a lawyer. She left Coleraine High School to read law at Churchill College, Cambridge and practised as a solicitor in London until her three children were born. Her children’s appetite for stories was insatiable and in no time Rosie was making up scary tales for them. It’s not that she wanted to frighten her children, it’s just that the ghost stories went down the best.
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET (aka WYSIGHOST), her novel for 10 – 14 year olds, was published in Dublin in 2004; Martin Rowson described it as ‘wonderful, funny, frightening, compulsively page-turning and all in all a rattling good read’.
A psychological thriller THE MOST INTIMATE PLACE followed in 2009 (published by the Maia Press, freshly merged with Arcadia Books). Laura Wilson was fulsome in The Guardian: ‘On the face of it, scriptural exegesis looks like pretty unpromising material but, in the hands of (this) novelist, it is transformed into the basis for a gripping, plausible and beautifully written literary thriller.’
‘Furber’s needle-sharp characterization of the deranged Patrick is nothing short of terrifying.’ USA Publisher’s Weekly
Both novels appeared under Rosie’s former married name, Rosemary Furber, and are set in Blackheath and Greenwich in south London where she and her family lived.
In 2010 Lapwing Publications (Belfast) published Rosie’s first pamphlet of poetry SWEET SEVENTEENS. You can read more about how this came about in FAQs.
ORION – A POEM SEQUENCE followed (Lapwing, 2012) and is a longer narrative poem about love. Louise Richardson’s review of Orion in Culture Northern Ireland can be found here.
Rosie’s latest is BITTERSWEET SEVENTEENS (Lapwing, 2014). Rosie’s poems are always seventeen syllables long, without being Haiku in the formal Western sense. This Publisher’s note in Bittersweet Seventeens puts it beautifully.
Rosie is proud to have been appointed in May 2014 Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust’s Poet in Residence. In June 2014 an extract from BITTERSWEET SEVENTEENS appeared as Derbyshire Libraries’ Poem a Month. In February 2015 a feature in the newly revived Honest Ulsterman magazine combined a look at Rosie’s poetry with research by her father Roy Johnston into Belfast’s musical life in the 19th century.
Rosie can be found reading her little poems aloud at the Troubadour in Earl’s Court, Il Vero Gusto in Richmond, Lumen in Bloomsbury and Made In Greenwich in SE10.
WHICH ROSIE JOHNSTON?
You will find several Rosie Johnstons on Google, busy all over the world. There’s an Australian celebrity make-up artist (Rosie Jane Johnston), a fine artist also in Australia (Rosie Wingrove Johnston), a Rosie Johnston who produces and directs opera (for Opera Unlimited) and another who works for Radio Prague.
There’s even an English one who did time in jail for murder and wrote a memoir about it. If you’ve read The Most Intimate Place, you could be forgiven for deducing from its prison detail that the Rosie of this website and she are the same person but they are not. The research for The Most Intimate Place came from ten years as a prison visitor.
This Rosie wishes all other Rosie Johnstons every success and happiness.