In February 2013 I was invited to do a two hour session at Broseley Primary School as part of their Years 3 & 4 work on India. I have to confess, the thought of working with so many little children terrified me! Continue reading
It is surprising that Mother’s Helper by Maureen Freely was first published in 1979. It could have been published this year. The subject matter is still relevant today; perhaps even more so. A would-be patriarch, Bob Pyle, struggles to maintain control over his family. His wife, Kay is a rather pretentious woman who claims to be a feminist. She makes outrageous demands on her husband, and seems to think that she can succeed at anything she tries. Although she does not seem to try very hard, Kay thinks she is super successful and hard working.
In very few words, Rosanne Rivers conjures up a new dystopian world which is peopled by vivid characters. It is a dystopian world where debts have to be repaid; a world where city states are isolated and enclosed. It is a world governed by a few powerful Shepherds who control the lives of the powerless masses. Here, every move a person makes is traced, and some people strive for the power to achieve some level of control over their own lives and exert a hold over the lives of others, sometimes without considering the consequences. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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
West of No East by Bobby Nayyar packs into a small book many of the issues facing people in multicultural, contemporary Britain today. It tells of difficult relationships, be they marital, friendships, work or parental. Difficult economic times increase pressures on already fragile relationships. Clashing cultures add extra heat into the mix.
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
If 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 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
This review is the result of a writing exercise: write a book review in one hundred words or less.
Boston-born Meg Rosoff‘s multi-award winning debut novel has wide appeal. Wise-cracking fifteen year old Manhattan girl, Daisy comes to visit her English country cousins.
Through Daisy’s eyes, Rosoff explores many voyages of discovery: of self, sexual love, new ways of life, and of learning to cope with the unknown. We see a magical, idyllic age, suddenly become tarnished by harsh and brutal times when war breaks out. Rosoff keeps us page-turning with minimal effort. Her descriptions like ‘I made jam sandwiches for breakfast and they tasted hoepful’ are delicious!
If you liked Mark Haddon‘s Curious Incident… you’ll like this!