BECKY NANA AYEBIA CLARKE: My name is Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke. I was born in Ghana and came to the UK in 1974, when I was just coming up to 16 years old. I had a brilliant primary school, just 30 miles outside of Accra, in Ghana. And then, when I finished that, I went to what then we used to call "the middle school" but then couldn't continue to go on to sixth form, because my father died suddenly. My father had been a huge figure our lives. And he was a judge, and my mother was a housewife. I was just coming up for boarding school. And unfortunately, I had to drop out, because my mother couldn't afford to pay for me. And so my education stopped, abruptly. When I came into the UK, I decided that I would look into the possibility of doing something. But it wasn't until I met my husband, David, and I started work at Heinemann educational publishers, that I decided that this must be the time. At Heinemann, I was surrounded by people who were all degree holders. I didn't feel any lesser, but I just felt that I needed that qualification behind me. And I just happened to have gone to the canteen, and I was looking through the Guardian, and I saw an advert for OU degrees. And I remember thinking, ah! This is exactly what I might want to do. I studied-- what they call them-- the humanities. So literally, I was doing literature. I made those choices because I was working at Heinemann, but also because I loved reading. I like nothing better than getting myself into a book. I just love to read. I felt very lucky to be working in an environment that actually published these writers whose work I was reading, on my courses that I was studying. I remember doing a long essay on Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which is a classic text which is published by Heinemann. And at the time, I was in contact with him by phone. And it made me feel really good that I was working on his text. And sometimes I will actually tell him that I'm doing an essay on your book. It was a wonderful six years of my life. I've taken a huge amount of transferable skills into my work, from my OU studies. I remember, particularly, having to read huge amounts of text and having to analyse it. And that's precisely what I do, in my day-to-day work. I have to read stories, I have to analyse them, I have to critique them, and I have to decide what will go forward. I also have to write blurbs and summaries. And these skills I have learned from doing OU essays and summaries. And I think, really, it was the best training. I would say, without any hesitation, that the OU laid a solid foundation for me and enabled me not only to go on and do an MA degree at Oxford University but to start my own business. I don't think I could've had the confidence to feel I could run my own publishing house, without the foundation that was laid for me by the Open University. And I'm really delighted to say that last year-- 2013-- was our 10th anniversary. And 2011, I was awarded an honorary MBE for my services to the publishing industry in the UK.