About Monica Kendall
Monica Kendall was born in North London to a Polish father and a British mother who was born in Kensington and spent her childhood in Brittany. In 1973 Monica travelled overland in her gap year to Nepal via Afghanistan, then went to St Hugh’s College, Oxford University to read Arabic. In summer 1975 she was in Lebanon when the third round of the civil war broke out but managed to return in time to play Dionyza in Shakespeare’s Pericles, performed in Sam Wanamaker’s tent on the South Bank, where later he built the Globe. At Oxford she also played Beatrice on a tour to the United States and Canada, and the Duchess of Malfi and Desdemona (with Hugh Quarshie as Othello) at the Oxford Playhouse. Monica was totally unmemorable in the 1976 Oxford Revue on the Edinburgh Fringe which made famous someone called Rowan Atkinson.
Professional acting took her to Southwold, Swindon and St Andrews, and involved a lot of temping in between, but she acted in two plays for the BBC. The first was a play about Rupert Brooke, in which she wore a gorgeous wig and said not a word while looking meaningful. The second was Mr Fothergill’s Diary with the superb Robert Hardy, directed by Claude Whatham. Tired of temping, she went into publishing as a book editor, did a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies at University College London, and reared a son who is also a writer. Monica now lives in North Wales, inspired by her great-great-grandfather’s hiraeth am Gymru and her son’s mountaineering. She is currently doing a PhD in the History and Welsh History Department at Prifysgol Aberystwyth University.
The photo shows Monica outside the Chapel Royal in Brussels at the start of her quest. This link to Maria Callas is for her late mother, who adored Callas and for whom Covent Garden was a second home.
The Flight Of The Drurys – The Harrovian, September 2021