A POET and fiction writer from Droitwich has released her third collection of poetry in advance of a stage production of her first play.

Sarah Leavesley, who writes under the pen name of Sarah James, was inspired to write her poetry collection ‘The Magnetic Diaries’ after having her own experience with depression.

The collection, which re-envisages Gustave Flubert’s classic novel ‘Madame Bovary in a 21st century English setting, creates a fictional world made up of diary fragments, together with doctor’s notes, emails and poems from the characters.

There is also a multimedia element to the book with links to visual, audio and film, while Mrs Leavesley has also written a script version, which has been chosen for this year’s Write On Festival at Hereford’s Courtyard Theatre.

She said: “I have always loved Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’. I studied the novel as an A level student at Haybridge High School in Hagley, and again as a modern languages student at Oxford University.

“Going to London to try out some pioneering new treatment for my own depression, I knew that I wanted to record the experience in some way and try to create something positive from it. Almost immediately I felt that the best way to do this was not autobiography but through the eyes of a fictional character, and that that character was a modern Madame Bovary.

“Deciding to use multimedia elements to supplement the story followed naturally from my previous work in poetry film and audio poetry. I have also always wanted to write a story that allowed the reader to be involved in how the narrative unfolds and ends. The theme of fate in Madame Bovary combined with multimedia gave me the perfect chance to do this.”

Mrs Leavesley is also running an online poetry blog project ‘With You In Mind’ to promote Mental Health Awareness Week from May 11-17 at sarah-james.co.uk where she will be handing over her blog to other poets’ work on the themes of the mind, mental illness and health, and mindfulness, and the poetry-show stage version of ‘The Magnetic Diaries’ will be performed in the studio at the Courtyard Theatre on Saturday, July 4 at 7pm.