Diversity in Writing

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

AlexAsWellI’ve just finished reading Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2015, originally published in Australia by Text Publishing Company) for a YA Writing Course I’m on at the moment, run by Keris Stainton. Alex As Well is a novel about the difficulties faced by an intersex child, the immediate family and others who interact with child, family or both. For a book that is said to be the first to tackle this subject, there seems to be a lot of over-simplification and a perpetuation of stereotypes, both of which have raised a lot of questions.  Continue reading

Rowing Down the World to Auckland by Ted Dunphy

Rowing Down the World to Auckland

I’m very excited that my friend Ted Dunphy has published a book! It’s called Rowing Down the World to Auckland. Read on to learn more about Ted, his writing and the things that inspire him. Continue reading

Music at Jaipur Literature Festival #JLFSOUTHBANK

I’ve never before been to a literature festival that began each day with live music, or one that ended with a massive musical bang!

Both Saturday and Sunday began with the beautiful voice of Saberi Misra, accompanied by Dhanraj Persaud on tabla and Prabhat Rao on harmonium. They are all students at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an Indian cultural institution teaching music, dance and languages as well as hosting other exhibitions and cultural programmes. Over 900 students attend the Bhavan. Continue reading

Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 #JLFSOUTHBANK

I attended the Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 at the Southbank Centre, London on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May. It was a busy weekend packed with talks, panels, lively debate, a Foyles book stall, book signings, a multitude of writers, activists, politicians, businessmen and even a Bollywood movie star. As is always the case with literature festivals, there were so many sessions on offer at the same time it was inevitable that sacrifices had to be made and V.S. Naipaul was sacrificed for a discussion on the Partition. There was sadness and celebration for a life that had been snatched away as people remembered Sabeen Mahmud who had been murdered only weeks before.

Shabana Azmi, Urvashi Butalia and friend smile for the camera.

Shabana Azmi, Urvashi Butalia and friend smile for the camera.


My Guest Blog for Leila Rasheed, Writer Children’s Books

Image provided by Leila Rasheed.

Image provided by Leila Rasheed.

I wrote a guest blog about finding a character I could relate to for Leila Rasheed, who writes books for children. It’s about finding a character we can relate to, and one which stays in our memory long after reading the book.

I first met her when I was on the MA in Writing course at the University of Warwick, and met her recently at a Writer’s Networking event run by Writing West Midlands. We were discussing the lack of diversity of characters in books for children even today, as discussed in the Walter Dean Myers article. I told her about a character I had connected with when I was young because she was ‘someone like me’. But as an adult, I was afraid to re-read the book in case I was disappointed.

Leila invited me to write a guest blog for her about my experience of revisiting the book. If you would like to read it the whole of my blog, and the Q&A with Leila, you can find it in Leila’s blog.