An artist became an activist – Interview with Gavin Weston

We Talk Women interview our very own, Gavin Weston.Gavin Weston

Gavin Weston is the author of Harmattan – set in Niger, West Africa – which chronicles the early years of Haoua, a child bride growing up in the fictional village of Wadata. Weston was a volunteer with the American NGO Africare in the eighties and, since 2011, has been an ambassador for FORWARD, a London-based NGO campaigning to end child marriage and FGM. He is a practising visual artist, a lecturer and a former Writer-in-Residence at one of Northern Ireland’s top security prisons.

For the full Q&A interview, please click here.

Finding the human in the monster

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The Straits Times had the enormous pleasure of interviewing our very own author, Tan Twan Eng.

Finding the human in the monster, published September 18th by Lee Jian Xuan, The Straits Times.

Whether he is writing at his desk or teaching in class, the award- winning Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng is always in a neatly pressed suit, with a matching tie to boot.

Of his attire, the 44-year-old tells The Sunday Times: “I’m more comfortable in this. To me, being a writer is a job and you treat it with respect.

“To get into the mindset of writing, I have to dress the part.”

Tan, who was born in Penang and worked as an intellectual property lawyer before becoming a novelist, says his professional background gave him a leg-up in the literary world.

He says: “The years I worked at a law firm taught me how to deal with clients professionally, reply to e-mail on time and gave me discipline. One reason that my agent signed me is because of how professional my submission letter and CV looked.”

He wrote part of his first novel Gift Of Rain while studying for a master’s in shipping law (“It was just a bull**** reason to take two years off work”) in Cape Town, South Africa. He now splits his time mainly between South Africa and Malaysia.

To read the full article please click here.

Tan Twan Eng – BBC World Service Interview

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A special one-off interview with Tan Twan Eng is now live on the BBC website.

This month we’re in The Book Lounge Bookshop in Cape Town, South Africa and talking to the Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng about his Man Asian Literary Prize-winning novel, The Garden of Evening Mists.

This haunting tale, set in the jungles of Malaya during and after World War II, centres on Yun Ling, the sole survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in which her sister perished.

Driven by the desire to honour her sister’s memory through the creation of a lush and sensuous garden Yun Ling falls into a relationship with the enigmatic Japanese gardener Aritomo and begins a journey into her past, inextricably linked with the secrets of her troubled country’s history.’

(Picture: Tan Twan Eng. Credit: Lloyd Smith.)

Please Click Here for the full 50 minute interview.

The Anatomist’s Dream: longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016

12829421_1165798966777742_973655231929934097_oThe beautiful novel by Clio Gray was recently longlisted for the prestigious Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. The wonderful blog, Chronic Bibliophilia, wrote a lovely review of The Anatomist’s Dream describing Clio’s superb use of both language and style, and her skill at creating the most intriguing and colourful characters:

‘Again and again, Gray’s characters unwittingly breach boundaries, but these breaches are a calculated and deliberate trope through which Gray manipulates her story and her audience with masterful ease.’

‘Philbert, along with the reader, is urged to consider the impact of small lives and small actions. I expect Clio Gray’s action, and the lives she has created in “The Anatomist’s Dream”, to cause ripples in the literary world for years to come.’

To read the full review please click here, or to purchase your copy please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Centenary News review for Cartographer

Cartographer

CentenaryNews.com has been launched to provide news and information about the 2014-2018 First World War Centenary.

It contains news items, videos, details of events, educational resources, and links to articles and blogs. The site also includes a summary of organisations who are involved with the study of the First World War, or who are planning Centenary events.

Recently Eleanor Baggley, Centenary News Books Editor, gave a glowing review of our incredibly popular novel, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land. Here’s a little taster of what Eleanor wrote about this thought-provoking novel:

‘As we approached the Centenary there was a flurry of new historical fiction based on World War One. It’s something we all expected – the subject, after all, is so rich and lends itself so easily to fiction. I’ve read some novels which have successfully captured the mood of the period and others which never quite grasped it. The Cartographer of No Man’s Land sits comfortably in that first group. P.S. Duffy has an extraordinary sense of the time and of the myriad ways men, women and children dealt with war. This, combined with a compelling story, make The Cartographer of No Man’s Land a novel worth reading.

‘For something slightly different or an alternative way of thinking about the soldier/civilian experience, I would highly recommend this novel. Not only is it a revealing examination of the transformative effect of war, it is also a beautifully written novel.’

To read the full article please visit the Centenary News website here.

Bloom Q&A with our very own P.S. Duffy

P.S. DuffyBloom is a literary site devoted to highlighting, profiling, reviewing, and interviewing authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older.  Bloom is also a community of artists and readers who believe that “late” is a relative term, not an absolute one, and who are interested in bringing to attention a wide variety of artistic paths — challenging any narrow, prevailing ideas about the pacing and timing of creative fruition.  If someone is labeled a “late bloomer”, the question Bloom poses is, “Late” according to whom?

Freshly back from the Jersey Shore, debut novelist P.S. Duffy talks about writing her first book at age 10 although she didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65, her inability to ever return to her birth country of China, and how a stranger’s insistence that a group of men in khaki uniforms were waiting for her to tell their Great War story became her illuminating, haunting The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.

To read the full interview and Q&A please click on the link here.

The Garden of Evening Mists visits The Queen’s Gallery

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.18.00A special book group event will be held at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 15th September 2015

Spend an evening with author Lynda Waterhouse for a discussion of art and literature inspired by Tan Twan Eng’s atmospheric novel The Garden of Evening Mists. The novel tells a story of one woman’s struggle to create a Japanese garden in the beautiful highlands of Malaya.

This book club will include a special exhibition tour of Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden by curator Sally Goodsir and a complimentary glass of wine.

For more details of the event, and to book your ticket, please click on the link here.

Laura Purcell kickstarts her author tour

Laura PicLaura Purcell started her author tour last weekend with a successful visit to Waterstones in Bury St Edmunds.

Laura is promoting her latest novel, Mistress of the Court, which tells the story of two remarkable women at the centre of George II’s reign.

“Laura Purcell is a wonderful storyteller, and Mistress of the Court a fabulous Georgian read!”

Lucinda Brant, NY Times bestselling author of Georgian romances and mysteries

Her first novel in the series, Queen of Bedlam, was shortlisted for Best Historical Romance 2014 and was Editor’s Pick, in Historical Novels Review.

If you didn’t get chance to see Laura over the weekend then not to worry as she’ll be continuing her tour next weekend.

Here are her remaining tour dates:

Saturday 15th August from 12 till 1 at Colchester Waterstones

Saturday 29th August from 11:30 till 1 at Chelmsford Waterstones

Saturday 3rd October from 11 till 1 at Lowestoft Waterstones

Summer Reading

MagExcellent to see two of Myrmidon’s latest releases in this month’s issue of Book Time: a free magazine from Bertrams that is distributed to indie bookshops throughout the UK.

Both The Horse Changer and Mistress of the Court are picked as some of this year’s hottest  summer reads. If you like your historical fiction then you can’t go wrong with either of these two enthralling and well-researched novels.

 

Tan Twan Eng: What Malaysia means to me

Twan IMG_2492-03Tan Twan Eng, author of The Gift of Rain and The Garden of Evening Mists, appears in the Malaysian edition of Elle magazine (August 2015).

Five acclaimed writers share with Elle readers just exactly what Malaysia means to them. For Twan, it was the small things in life that he remembers with clarity. The kindness of his mother, and the gratefulness of those less fortunate than himself, come across in this short piece of reminiscence.

‘… perhaps, every day all over KL, all over our country, people are doing such similar acts of unsolicited kindnesses, these small things, for complete strangers.’ 

If you’d like to read the full piece from Elle then please click here.