Journeys with a book

Welcome to my blog.
ShieldOfCoolestAir-Cover 2This one is on the amazing oral poetry of Somali,
and how it helped form my novel, A Shield of Coolest Air.
Click on the link:

Language I can’t afford to forget


To see earlier posts, click on the links below:
1. Starting points
2. A special kind of courage
3. Scratches in the rock
4. Fiction and real life
5. Backpacking through time
6. Diary of a Speaking Tigress
7. Negotiating with rebel leaders
8. The festival that nearly didn’t happen
9. Working with Ralph Russell
10. Who is ‘we’ ?
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1. Who needs poetry?
12. Cast a long shadow
13. A better place?
14.  It’s an umbrella
15. When artists go to work
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6. Reading to the swans
17. If you can walk, you can dance

Language I can’t afford to forget


ShieldOfCoolestAir-Cover 2
On the amazing oral poetry of Somali, and the writing of
A Shield of Coolest Air.

Two years ago, while televisions around the world were showing images of Syrian refugees in boats trying to get to a Greek island, in a London theatre the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Hamlet. After the show he came out in front of the curtain and told the audience that they would be collecting money to help Syrian refugee children.… Read more

A better place?

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Uncertain Light has brought me to some strange places, but none stranger than this – I have been invited to speak at a conference on ‘Making the world a better place.’ My first reaction was – ‘You’re asking me?‘ The second was, Absurd to think any individual can do that. And yet, and yet …

I’m thinking back to September 2013 … Sitting on the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank, watching the profile of the man next to me.… Read more

Who needs poetry?

storm-in-the-sea-shobita-sreekumar

The wind blows hard, the night is dark, the stormy waves are rising
The anchor’s chain is broken, and the captain is asleep

British politics? Trump? Communal violence? Actually it’s the poet Ghalib in the early 19th century,  commenting on the world around him Delhi – or perhaps on life in general; and in the first chapter of my novel the words lodge in the mind of Tessa as she faces  a very personal crisis. 

Poetry in a novel?Read more