In 2006 I bought a box of letters from Deptford Market in London and wrote a short story, "Laila Ahmed," about my quest to find out who they belonged to. This story won a New Writing Ventures prize which gave me a year’s mentoring and enough money to buy a laptop. All of this contributed very well to helping me finish A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. The moral of this story is: go to flea markets! And car boots...and don’t get me started on the buried stories to be found in second hand and thrift shops.
I live in a small, Sussex coastal town with my husband and two tiny children. We have embraced its English seaside charm, the pier, the blustery promenade and best of all, the rock pools.
I work part-time organising international literature projects for the British Council. I travel widely, and over the past ten years have travelled and worked across most countries in the Middle East and in China, Russia and Western and Eastern Europe. For several years I specialised in projects focusing on the Arabic speaking world. I am interested in international literature and... well, stories from anywhere in the world that grab me.
The rest of the time I write. My next book is inspired by the Art Deco Shoreham Airport in Sussex, and is about early female pilots, inter-war London and the establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine. I combine working on this with studying for a Ph.D in Creative Writing. Writers I admire include Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Rhys, Vladimir Nabokov, EM Forster, William Faulkner, TS Eliot, Lawrence Durrell, AS Byatt, Marilynne Robinson, Janice Galloway, Carson McCullers, Olivia Manning, Freya Stark, Graham Greene, Alice Oswald, Sinead Morrisey, H.D., Stevie Smith, Ann Quin, Sylvia Townsend Warner. (From the author's website.)
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