My short story The Owl Tamer has been Highly Commended in the Bath Short Story Award competition. I’m really chuffed about this. Unusually for me, its written in the second person. The story is set in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina and centres on the relationship between two characters: a mute who is an owl tamer and a ceramicist who has returned to her village after living in exile. Both are drawn into the search for the missing. The judge was Farhana Shaikh of Dahlia Publishing. More on the award winners and other shortlistees (is this even a word?!) at: https://www.bathshortstoryaward.org/2023/07/31/winners-bath-short-story-award-2023/
The anthology featuring the 20 stories on the shortlist will be published in November 2023 – more about that in a future post.
On Sunday 17 September 2023, I’ll be presenting at the International Creative Bridges Conference, a gathering of academics, health specialists and creative practitioners involved in bringing the arts into health and wellbeing initiatives. I will be discussing The House of Dreams and Memories, a series of creative writing workshops I devised and ran for NHS patients living with long-term health problems and chronic pain. They took place in Spring 2023 as part of the interdisciplinary WISE Wellbeing Project run by Cwm Taf Morgannwg-University Health Board, co-funded by NHS Wales and Arts Council Wales. My talk is titled ‘Geography of echoes: narrating experiences of pain and loss.’ Below, one of German artist Matthias Jung’s amazing collages which inspired participants to create imaginary spaces of nurture and renewal.
Excited to have a new short story out in April in Short Fiction Journal. ‘Winter’s map’ is a story about friendship and survival, with a stunning illustration by Conor Fenner-Toora. You can read it here:
I have an article out in Literature Interpretation Theory Journal which explores the writing of Surrealist Leonora Carrington and Dubravka Ugresic. Carrington’s Down Below (1944) and Ugresic’s The Ministry of Pain (2006) are two books which have long fascinated me. Why? Because both writers interweave visual art techniques into their creative writing to generate new narrative possibilities. You can read my article ‘Breaking the Frame: The Role of Artmaking in Narratives of Migration and Diaspora‘ here:
A new short story ‘Being Gideon‘ has been published by MIRonline – the journal of the Centre for Creative Writing at Birkbeck. It’s about a young man who seeks to be himself in spite of the violence done to him. Read at:
In spring 2023, I will be designing and running a series of creative writing workshops for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s newly launched Wellness Improvement Service (WISE).
WISE will encourage and support patients to take control of their own health, including the management of chronic pain and other long-term conditions. As part of the service, they will have the opportunity to take part in a series of creative workshops organised in partnership with the Health Board’s Arts and Performance Department. In my creative writing workshops, participants will be invited to design and ‘build’ a House of Dreams and Memories. Inspired by Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, the workshops will take a playful and creative look at the spaces which nurture and renew us.
In June 2022, I discussed my research for a new creative non-fiction project at the Bearing Untold Stories conference organised by the Department of English and Creative Writing at University of Lancaster. This new work is partly inspired by the life and work of the German Jewish emigre artist Eva Frankfurther (1930-1959). Unattached to any major artistic group or movement, Frankfurther chose to live and work close to those she painted in the Whitechapel district of London, including her friends from the West Indian community.
© Ben Uri Gallery Archive