Return to Kirrin – by Suzy & Neil Howlett

Return to Kirrin is a witty and nostalgic adventure novel for grown-ups who loved the “rather well known” characters in the books they read as children. Do you ever wonder what happened to those adventurous children once they grew up?

It is 1979 in the sleepy Dorset countryside. However, Mrs Thatcher has just become Prime Minister, Ford Capris rule the roads, and Julian Kirrin, now a smooth forty-something entrepreneur, has big ideas for Kirrin Island. He has to convince Dick, Anne and George to co-operate – not an easy job! The cousins have grown up and grown apart. Anne has a perfect marriage and twins who are a little unusual. Dick is still seeking success and the love of a good woman. George is as fierce and independent as ever. Timmy the dog, sadly, is no more, and George’s current version, Gary, is not much like him at all!

Of course there will be temper tantrums, awkward children and suspicious activities at sea, but serious danger and old political secrets are threatening the cousins. Once again, there is an emergency, only this time it could threaten the whole country. Is there always a way to escape?

Enid Blyton did not write this book. Touching, humorous and affectionate, this unofficial novel will delight anyone who wonders how their favourite characters might have grown up and coped in a changing world. Can adults ever recover the perfect summers they enjoyed as children?

About the Authors

Suzy and Neil co-wrote Return to Kirrin. It began 19 years ago when they were walking round the island of Sark, which reminded them of the unsophisticated fictional world of Kirrin Island, with its endlessly repeated summer holidays. They began to speculate what life would be like now for childhood characters if they had grown up and had to face the modern world. 1979 seemed a pivotal year.

Return to Kirrin
Photo © Tim Gander. All rights reserved.

Suzy, after a few jobs as a high-kicking chorus girl, a seaside hotel nanny and (very briefly) a bank clerk, settled on teaching. This was really so she could read lots of stories to her class, first in Tower Hamlets (London) then in Frome (Somerset). She still teaches, and is also a features writer for the educational magazine Little Things. Neil graduated from Oxford before cramming law in a polytechnic, with the idea that he might help people who needed help. He is doing just that, in a law firm in Frome, Somerset.

The first thing anyone said when they heard Suzy and Neil were writing a book together was and you’re still married? Like any joint enterprise it requires suitable admiration of what your partner does well, tact and diplomacy over the things you don’t agree with, and ultimately respectful compromise. They are still married . . .

Return to Kirrin is available locally at Hunting Raven in Frome, it can be ordered from any good bookshop or available on Amazon:


You can get in touch with Suzy and Neil on the Return to Kirrin Facebook Page