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I live on the East/Sussex Kent border. I moved here three years ago after living in Hastings for fifteen years. I grew up in a village on the edge of the Black Country. A book of flash fiction (currently unpublished) about my childhood was long-listed in 2018 for the Bath novella-in-flash award.
I have been writing for years but didn’t have much success until my first novel, A Bird in the House, was published in 2014. My flash fiction has been widely published and I’ve been short-listed (and long-listed) for a number of awards.
I used to work in arts education but am now a full-time writer. When I’m not writing I love gardening, photography, sketching, swimming and travelling. My favourite places to visit are deserts – my nearest ‘desert’ is Dungeness which I often visit.
Here Casts No Shadow, 2018 (novel)
“Fifteen-year old Mira has grown up in the small town of Zazour. Her country of Lyrian has been under the grip of a ruthless dictator for decades but Mira and her family have always lived a quiet life. However, everything changes after a protest in town. With Zazour under siege, she and the family are forced to flee to a refugee camp across the border. Eventually they settle in Neeland, thousands of miles from their homeland. Now, in adult life, as Mira’s father begins to fail in hospital, a terrible incident she and her older brother Kaz have kept secret for years threatens to explode, just like the bombs that fell on Zazour, and destroy the life Mira has built for herself.”
Review by Richard Latham
“A book comes along now and again that lets your heart sing and rejoice about the human spirit.
Here Casts No Shadow is one such book…we are often put off stories of refugees and asylum seekers by the camps in France or the crowds of humanity trekking across Europe… This book is not ‘an in your face’ one, liberal treatise of embracing all peoples, it is the fictional account of one family’s life in a made-up world where the bombs and suffering are very real…
The writing is gentle and even paced; initially changing from the horrors of the past to the reality of their new status in a new country. Even when the previous life unravels, and death stalks the very shops and streets they inhabit the writing is descriptive but not judgmental – it records events how one might remember them leaving the anxiety and stress to invade one’s day dreaming and night terrors…. The characters are fictional but very real, and are neither heroes nor villains, but human beings with frailties and prone to breakdown.”
A Bird in the House, 2014 (novel)
A Bird in the House is the story of a young girl and an older woman – Betty – who looks after her one summer while the girl’s mother goes to America. One day a mysterious boy turns up in Betty’s garden. Who is he? What is his story?
This book was written after a trip to Libya in 2011.
“This is not the genre that I would normally read, but, after a strong personal recommendation, I felt bound to try it.
This author employs the ‘softly, softly’ approach.
The characters are skilfully drawn, the back ground meticulously researched and the plot subtly unfolded. Suddenly she’s gotcha!
A great story, beautifully written, I shall be looking out for more from this gifted writer.”
Not Here, Not Us – stories of Syria, 2016 (flash fiction, poems, shorts)
A collection of short stories and flash fiction about the Syria crisis.
The title, Not Here, Not Us, reflects the attitudes the world has taken to the Syrian Revolution and to the refugees fleeing the war.
This war scars us all. Even if we turn away from it, it is always there like our own shadow.
“This is a slim book but it aims – and succeeds – at offering us a wide and deep understanding of the many aspects of the Syrian tragedy. In delicate poems, concise vignettes and short stories, a range of characters are presented from the sniper in a war-torn town, to the barely surviving refugees to the concerned campaigners back in safer places. The writing is spare, vivid and compassionate. And importantly, non-judgmental. Don’t worry that it will all be too heart breaking: there is real beauty and hope among the pieces. It’s a reminder that fiction and creative interpretation can help us to feel and truly understand better than even the most well researched journalism or academic papers. Strongly recommended.” (CE)