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

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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

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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Ruminations

The north wind blows through February trees

starlings take flight in the faded London sky

black shadows ebb and flow

murmurations mirroring my thoughts

Stop worrying it’ll drive you crazy

he likes to tell the future

it makes him feel divine

his words dig deep—roots that take hold

How will I know when it happens         

he doesn’t hear me above the wind

it whips against my cheeks

When it happens how will I know

he shakes his head

Panic! I want to grab his throat with clawed hands

a crooked branch twists round my legs

he catches me with a ruthless grip

jaundiced leaves lie unsettled

like a thousand broken hearts scattered at my feet

Does the silver birch mourn

I need to know

the answer hangs between us

he snaps the offending branch in two

I’m free

a fleeting thought

he pulls up my collar stiff against the wind

I can do it myself

rough wool scratches my neck

a banshee’s wail races the wind

invisible fingers that tangle my hair

How long is forever

starlings swarm in the winter sky

inkblot algorithms that endlessly transform

the swirling ciphers hold encrypted answers

Is it happening now

I chew the words over and over again like cud

Everything is happening now

his voice

a gentle push towards an idling van

(M. Bracht, 2015)