My Place: Ruth Philbrick

Picture: Damjan Janevski

Sunbury author Ruth Philbrick tells Matt Crossman she hopes her new collection of short stories will entertain and inspire older people. 


Never Too Late is your first book. How did you get involved in writing?

I first dabbled in it about 25 years ago when I was recovering from my first bout of breast cancer, sort of as a creative outlet and a relaxation thing.

This book is a bit of a celebration of good health after a more recent battle with cancer, and as I approach 70.

How did the idea of a collection come about? Was it something that had been with you for a while?

I just really enjoy short stories. It can be such a powerful way to share a message and inspire.

The stories try to provide answers to some fairly important questions regarding ageing, which of course can be a time of great change …

Yes. I really want my fellow retirees to see there is a new world of opportunities out there, that they can take up new things like volunteering. In my own life, I used to be a baby cuddler at Sunshine hospital and now my husband, Robert, and I visit a nursing home. One of the stories in the book is about an old fellow’s dilemma when he can no longer play his pianola … it talks about the way he gives out to the community as a result of this dilemma. There’s also a few good love stories.

What would your advice be to someone who’s interested in writing, but isn’t sure they can take on a project like this?

First of all, just do it. Allow your own thoughts to develop. Writing fiction, I get an idea and then come up with the main characters. Then, in my mind, I allow those characters to take me towards an ending.

What do you like about living in Sunbury?

It’s such a lovely environment, with the linear lakes and so on. Not only that, my husband and I have made some lovely friends in the five years we’ve been here. We go to one of the local churches and we meet friends for a game of Scrabble once a week.

It’s a great place.

Never Too Late is available for $24 through Busybird Publishing. Details: 0407 563 292 or