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It’s pumpkin season and here’s a classic jack o’lantern carved this weekend. Unfortunately I couldn’t take part as I was stuck in bed, but the kid did good (with a bit of help from his dad). I love autumn and the changing colours of the leaves and how suddenly orange is beautiful. (Let’s face it that’s not true year round 😬) I’m in the middle of writing book two and trees are on my mind, their life and death cycle, their lifespan across centuries or cut short by logging. Their significance in our world and our lives. What do pumpkins have to do with any of this? Perhaps it’s all the falling orange leaves collecting in piles along the pavement. Their beauty astounds me, even as the gardeners blow them to kingdom come with their god awful loudly inhuman leaf blowers. Autumn is here. Joy all around, and feel free to #wearorange 🍁

The sun is glorious on this October day. It’s hard to believe Autumn is just around the corner. These blossoms survived a bouquet cull and I’m so glad they perked up instead of expiring in the bin. Sometimes all it takes is a little love and care for living things to find their beauty once again. Time, love and care, are so necessary in today’s fast paced world. I love the hashtag going around: if you can be anything #bekind and perhaps like these faded flowers we can all bloom once more.

Here’s the US paperback release of White Chrysanthemum. Hopefully this beautiful new cover will reach many more people across America. There are so few Korean ‘comfort women’ still alive today–eight women died this year. I still meet so many people who have never heard of them, what they endured, or how many perished during WWII. History is written by the victors, yet women’s history is largely ignored. It’s time to remember, to tell women’s stories, so they will be ingrained in our collective memory. White Chrysanthemum tells one story, a historically ‘shameful’ one, hidden for decades, until a woman finally comes forward to tell her loved ones what happened to a sister long forgotten.

It’s been nearly one year since I attended my first literature festival as a debut author. Cheltenham Literary Festival invited me to discuss White Chrysanthemum before it had even reached bookshop shelves. A year has passed, many translations have been published around the world, and I’m headed back to Cheltenham to speak on a panel with Korean American author Min Jin Lee (with her fabulous novel, Pachinko). What an amazing journey I’ve had since stepping off the train in Cheltenham Spa last year–I’m so pleased to return because it feels like I have come full circle. ❤️🙏🤗 Come by, say hi, and take some books home with you!

It’s a full moon tonight. Does it make you feel different? Bolder, more emotional, full of what life was always meant to be? Or is it just another Monday night, another banal evening where nothing feels different? How do we measure change in a life that just goes on and on until it abruptly doesn’t, and even then we wouldn’t be aware of its end, it wouldn’t change for us, we would just be done? The harvest moon historically held an important place in the human calendar. It signaled the time for farmers to harvest their crops in preparation for the coming winter. It notated the autumnal equinox when the Earth’s equator is in line with the centre of the sun. What does it mean to us today? Are we still human enough to care? I live in a city of flats that assault the midnight sky. When the clouds don’t hover above our heads, bricks and mortar breach their absence. The moon and stars are elusive celestial creatures we rarely remember to search the skies for. Do we even look up at the heavens anymore? Do we still pray? It’s a full moon tonight. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Do you care?

Translated into German, White Chrysanthemum becomes And Above Me The Sea. I love the cover, the poetic title and the timing. It’s the day after the autumnal equinox and the days grow darker from here. I hope German readers fall in love with Hana and Emi. I hope the story of the ‘comfort women’ translates across language and border and personal experience. I hope so much for this novel. ❤️

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Some days are better than others. These books of beautiful poems arrived today and I can’t wait to get lost in them. Poems are meant to be read, re-read, read aloud, chewed over and discussed so they can sink into the marrow of our bones and bond with our souls. Here’s to a soul-bonding weekend 📚🥂

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