Kew Gardens Temperate House is the largest Victorian glass house in use today. Its recent restoration is a resounding success as the immaculate structure is glorious. School children filled the walkways as I meandered past exotic blooms, “how many colours have we found so far?” a teacher asked her charges, “seven!” came a confident reply followed by a countdown of colors.

This flower was my favourite. A cross between an exploded firework and a streamer fringed party horn, the velvet white petals stood out against the sea of green.

There is so much beauty to be found at Kew that one day spent wandering through the gardens is not enough.

Kew’s idyllic scenes inspire serenity and a sense of zen–highly recommended for nature lovers and city dwellers alike.

This small house on the fjord in Oslo would be an ideal writing hideaway. I see myself sitting at the window watching the world sail by, their nondescript faces blinking against the summer sun as they pass, and words filling my screen because I have nowhere to go, nothing to do but look and think and dream and write. En forfatters drøm!

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Haenyeo Statue on Udo Island, South Korea

The Litro World Series Summer Literary & Arts Festival ’18 is this weekend in London and will focus on India & South Korea. Join me on Saturday, 26 May (3:00-4:00PM) as I’ll be in conversation with novelists Uzma Aslam Khan (The Geometry of God) and Manu Pillai (The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore). The session will be chaired by prize winning novelist and scriptwriter Qaisra Shahraz. We will read from our books, discuss our motivations behind writing them, and give you a chance to ask questions. I’ll also have two free paperback copies of White Chrysanthemum to give away if you haven’t bought your copy yet!

So come along to the SOAS university campus to hear from writers with stories spanning across India and South Korea. Follow this link for more information: LitroLive

Walking through Paddington Cemetery this image of trees in very different stages of life reminded me of Shel Silverstein’s story, The Giving Tree. Whenever I read that story I believed the tree was the boy’s mother, who sacrificed everything she had, even her body, to help him survive. As a girl I despised the boy for being so greedy and inept that he needed her to sacrifice herself. Now I look back on that story with fondness because it explains so much about the human relationship with everything, from our environment to politics to family. It’s a mirror that reminds us how much we take from this world and from one another without giving back. I read it now as both a warning and a comfort, in that I can choose to take less than that boy even though the gifts are freely offered because their acceptance could lead to the ruin of us both. Caring for that which sustains us is a privilege, and we should follow a path where we all flourish.

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The lovely team at Longanesi behind the publication of Figlie del Mare and the fabulous booksellers at Hoepli Bookstore in Milan welcomed me and my debut novel to Italy last week. Many thanks to Paulo Noseda, translator extraordinaire, who made it possible for me to understand everyone, and to the many journalists, book bloggers and photographers who came to meet and interview me about my novel.

I’m so hopeful Italian readers will fall in love with haenyeo divers Hana and Emi and take to heart the plight of the women history knows as ‘comfort women’. There are only 28 survivors left in South Korea. These women deserve a place in history’s memory.

Click to watch the book trailer here: Figlie del Mare YouTube

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Today is pub day for the Italian translation of White Chrysanthemum! I’m so excited to announce that Figlie del Mare is now available for Italian readers. My amazing publishers at Longanesi have produced this beautiful cover, which evokes loneliness and longing but also coveys delicate beauty.

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It’s pub day for the Swedish translation of White Chrysanthemum! My wonderful publishers at Bookmark Forlag created a stunning cover for Vit Krysantemum. I can’t wait for readers in Sweden to read Hana and Emi’s story.

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