Wednesday 30 April 2014

Writing Workshop

At the weekend I was privileged to host a writing workshop headed up by Amanda Hodgkinson, the award winning author of international bestseller, 22 Britannia Road and the critically acclaimed novel, Spilt Milk.  There were nine of us for the weekend, all members of the Parisot Writing Group – a supportive and lovely bunch of people.  We all agreed the weekend was a great success, but it was over far too quickly.   Now it is back to some hard graft on my novel, The Gift.  The feedback I received from Amanda and the group means I’m looking forward to working on it again and I have a clearer idea of what I’m trying to achieve.  I know I echo the sentiments of the whole group when I say that Amanda was an inspiration.

Thursday 24 April 2014

The Ginger Tree

I’ve just finished reading The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd (see my book blog Nita Reads).  The Ginger Tree caught my eye as I was looking for stories based in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century to give me further insight into Japanese Culture.   The Ginger Tree is the story of a young woman who travels to China in 1903.  In the end she settles in Japan, buying a house in Yokohama in 1914 – this would have been about the same time that Agnes Salvesen was in Yokohama.  The book was a delight to read and, as well as observations on the culture, it also highlights the restrictions placed on women during this era.  Agnes Salvesen must have been quite a woman!  I can’t wait to start writing about The Salvesen Sisters, but at the moment I’m working on The Gift – again!  

Friday 11 April 2014


Last week I was lucky to see the stage production of Birdsong.  Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks, is one of my favourite books so I was interested to see how the play would compare.  We covered writing for stage, film and radio in one of my open university courses so I know that a huge amount of work goes into adapting a book for film or stage.  The first couple of chapters in the book set the scene before the First World War and I remember I found these a bit heavy going.  In comparison the play leaps right into the action as it opens in the trenches and the backstory is interlaced throughout the play to great effect.  The actors all gave moving performances and were just as I had imagined them.   The play was stunning and especially poignant given that it marks the anniversary of the start of the First World War.  I recommend going to see it if you get the chance.