London’s lockdown seems to have ended. The streets are crowded with people again, as though the threat of death no longer looms. Is it the fair Friday weather that lulls them into a false sense of security? Or is it the human condition to forget, doomed to repeat our painful histories, that pulls them out of their homes in too large crowds? Passing them on the pavement feels like playing Russian roulette, an unnecessary game with a consequence that outweighs the prize. There are too many people willing to play. Too many bullets in the gun. I’m staying inside again. I can always walk in my dreams.
Found in my mother’s garden, a pot of spawning cactus plants. A google search informed me they are hedgehog cactus. I’m not 100% certain that’s correct, but I love the name, so I’m sticking with it! My mother’s garden is full of surprising delights tucked away in nooks and crannies. A slow wander around with a sharp eye is an early morning treat.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy NYE! May 2019 be filled with more love than hate, more happiness than tragedy, and more light than darkness for everyone, for me, and for you.
The Turkish translation for White Chrysanthemum is out just before the start of the new year! Thank you to my publishers, Arkadya. (Translated by Dilek Parsadan)
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!?
Happy holidays and happy reading!
Can you spot my book? Hint, it’s on the top shelf. Dreams do come true! At my local @waterstones in the O2 Centre.
On another note, Happy Halloween!!!! 👻🎃
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.
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. ❤️
The 2018 Forward Prizes for Poetry
— Read on www.litro.co.uk/2018/09/2018-forward-prizes-poetry/
My review of the fabulous Forward Prizes For Poetry award night.
This Saturday, 22 September is the Milton Keynes Literary Festival and I’m very much looking forward to this event. Join me for a Book Club talk about White Chrysanthemum. We’ll discuss the book, ‘comfort women’, haenyeo divers, Hana and Emi, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about writing, publishing, and first books (and the trials of writing the second)! More info here: MKLITFEST