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

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.


100K in 100 days – a challenge

Writing books is hard but it's fantastic when they end up looking like this.

Writing books is hard but it’s fantastic when they end up looking like this.

I’ve been working on a novel and in January I tried a 100 day challenge where members of the group try to write 100,000 words. I knew I would not be able to complete that challenge but I decided to see how many words I could write. I aimed for one page a day minimum and overall, I managed to that, missing only a handful of days in total over the 100 day period. I managed to make it to over half of that word count and was very happy to do so.

I’m now looking forward to the next challenge which I believe starts in July. Why not try it? The group is on Facebook, but the daily word counts are stored in a spreadsheet elsewhere.

Unblocking Writer’s Block

A cup of tea, anyone?

If you’re stuck for something to write, or something to write about, why not try this prompt?

Take a small notebook and go and sit in a café. Write about anything which attracts your attention.

For example, why not try people watching? What do the other people in the café look like? What are they wearing? What do they order? How do they eat/drink? What can you smell – the aroma of the coffee you’re drinking? Does your tea look like dishwater? Is anyone watching you – if so, are they staring at you or watching you when they think you can’t see them? Don’t leave until you’ve filled at least one page of your notebook.

A fellow writer called Joseph W. Richardson gave me this tip. I’ve written several pages each time Ive gone out for a cup of tea. If it doesn’t work for you, then at least you managed to get out of the house and enjoyed a drink!


Writing. Or Freedom from Deadlines

You may start with a blank page, a blank notebook, a blank post-it note, but filling it is as simple as beginning with a single word. Any word which gets you started.

You may start with a blank page, a blank notebook, a blank post-it note, but filling it is as simple as beginning with a single word. Any word which gets you started.

Freedom from deadlines isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Having finished my uni work and handed in my assignments, I now feel as though I have no purpose. It’s not just for now. I always feel like this after hand-ins. So, I’ve been searching for things to do. I know I have a novel to work on, but I need a little break first before commiting myself to another large piece of writing. Continue reading

Black Country to Red Earth – Video Of Me Reading A Story

Last week, I attended a public lecture ‘Black Country to Red Earth’ given by Candi Miller in the International Centre, University of Wolverhampton on Thursday 19th April 2012.

Stories galore for telling and reading.

Stories galore for telling and reading.

It was a great evening of sharing information about The San Peoples of the Kalahari Desert, who are considered to be the oldest race in the world. Some of their storytellers were filmed telling stories, including Beesa Boo who told the story of The Spider Man. Continue reading

Writing Exercise

IMG_3104If you’re stuck for something to write about, take a look around you. Describe what is in your favourite room in the place where you live. What’s there? Is everything where it should be? If not, why not? Describe the colours, the textures, the sounds around you. What do these remind you of? Did you choose them yourself, or are they a glimpse into someone else’s taste? Why? How do these things make you feel, and why? What is your favourite thing in the room? Is it an item, a colour, a texture, a material, a smell, a piece of furniture or a piece of jewellery you keep in that room? Or is it the view from the window? Why is it so special to you? What memories are connected with it?

Out of all these things, choose something to write about. For example, about the memories connected to your favourite item from that room. If you choose to try this exercise, try writing as many words as you like, until the piece feels ‘finished’ to you. Then shake it up a little and try writing it in a different tense, or changing the point of view.



Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies by Salman Rushdie: Review

‘Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies’ by Salman Rushdie is the first short story in a collection of ten. It tells of one of the British Consulate’s Tuesday women, Miss Rehana. On the last Tuesday of the month, young women travel long distances to try to gain entry into England and be with their fiancés. The lala at the gates asserts his authority and power over them, even though he is only guarding the Consulate entrance. Most of them are accompanied by one or more male relatives, but Miss Rehana is alone because she is an orphan.  Continue reading

Mirror, Mirror: Alternative Point of View

I am sure the Queen will appear again soon, with her illusions and delusions of grandeur. I have never seen anyone so vain before. There is no denying it, the nasty old witch is the fairest in the land. But I cannot help wondering what the King would say if he were to discover that his wife is a six hundred year old hag who finds her youth and beauty in potions and spells.

It is not only the Queen who suffers from the disease called Vanity. Her husband also comes to admire himself. ‘How handsome are you?’ he asks as he struts around, preening like a peacock. Ugly duckling would be closer to the truth.

I lost count long ago of how many women have looked into my frame and dreamed of being the most beautiful. Oh, if only I could tell them what I really thought of them! ‘Tis a pity I am not allowed to speak to anyone but my mistress.  There is much I could have told them. But it is probably just as well…

Things can get so tedious and predictable sometimes. Methinks ’tis time for a change. Here comes my Queen.

‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’

My shimmering pane, have I got news for HER, today!