The paperback is out now! Check out the bestseller stamp of approval. So much love to my amazing publishers at Longanesi. I fell in love with Milan and Rome on my book tour last year meeting the publishing team, the booksellers and bookbloggers! Thank you to everyone who has made this book a success, especially to all the readers who followed sisters Hana and Emi on their tragic journeys. 🙏
The sound of ocean waves calls to the human soul in a primal language translated by the heart. Every time I visit the seaside I remember what it is to be alive, to exist on this small, aching world. So pleased to have taken part in the Alderney Literary Festival and to have had the chance to recharge my head, my heart, my soul on this beautiful island. Nature reminds us life is beautiful.
Monday night’s Writers’ Guild’s 60th Anniversary Awards ceremony was full of surprises as White Chrysanthemum won the award for Best Debut Novel. Here I am giving my acceptance speech. It’s all a blur now, but the most important part of the speech I gave was a quote by Kim Hak Sun, the first ‘comfort woman’ and women’s rights activist to come forward in 1991 to give her testimony about her experience during WWII:
“We must remember these things that were forced upon us.”
So many terrible things are force upon women and girls during the wars our nations wage against one another. Even before our governments wage these wars, they know the vulnerable citizens will suffer. We must keep the survivors in mind, ensure their protection, and help them recover when wars end. The women of Korea and Asia were forgotten at the end of WWII as the men in charge sought diplomatic amends for the recovering war torn nations. We must remedy this in future. Remember the innocents, the people who had no power to wage wars, vote, hold office, or change the tide of world events. Remember and protect them, and if we fail, admit our failures and ensure those who suffered the most can rebuild their lives. Immigrants, asylum seekers, forced sexual slaves, we must acknowledge their plight and do right by them because if we live in comfortable homes within the borders of safe nations, chances are our governments are not blameless in the causes of suffering abroad. And we are guilty by association.
So do your duty, vote. Demand a just government. March against yours if their policies are unjust. But most of all, remember. Never forget. Because none of us are immune to war. Or injustice. Or suffering. We are all of us connected in our humanity.
I want to thank the Writers’ Guild and the judges who selected my book from so many wonderful debuts of 2018. It’s a dream come true to be read at all, and to win an award for doing what I love, it’s an absolute honour.
I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season! Thank you for a beautiful year and all the love and support you’ve given to me and White Chrysanthemum. It has been an amazing journey since publication day in January. I can’t wait for 2019 and the adventures ahead!
White Chrysanthemum has been shortlisted for Best First Novel by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. I’m honoured to be selected along with two wonderful writers Guy Gunaratne (In Our Mad and Furious City) and Nicola Mostyn (The Gods of Love). If you have time over the holidays, pick up their books and give them a read. If you haven’t read mine yet, what are you waiting for!?