Fifteen Minutes of Fame

The Edinburgh International Book Festival finishes today. I left the Spiegeltent for the last time, feeling totally inspired and curiously bereft - StoryShop 2016 is over and I'm hanging up (somewhere very visible) my official author lanyard. Anyone who read last month's post will know that I was chosen by Edinburgh City of Literature as one of the 17 'emerging writers' to write and then read their short story over the duration of the festival (and if you want to read more about Story Shop in general, you can do so in a feature I wrote for Lothian Life: #storyshop - yes, I am milking it - indulge me!) Of course, it was an honour, but it's also been tremendous fun, and a fantastic way to meet other new authors - as well as mingling with famous ones in the hallowed portals of the author's yurt! Whilst I'm left with a real sense...
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The Great Edinburgh Story Shop Line-Up 2016

Time to follow up last month's far from subtle hint about my other writing news. No, my novel has not found a friendly literary agent or an eager publisher; it hasn't even been sent to any, but that's my project for the summer (and now I've announced that here, I must do it...)At the beginning of June, I learned I have been selected for Edinburgh City of Literature's 'Story Shop' at the International Book Festival this year. Each day of the festival, one 'emerging writer' is chosen to read an original short story to an audience in the Spiegeltent. It's a ten minute slot, it's FREE, and I'll be reading a short story I've written called The Merry Dancers.Obviously, when the organisers contacted me, I assumed they had made a monumental mistake, but a meeting and subsequent photographic evidence suggests I really am one of the Edinburgh Seventeen!Okay, it's a bit like Where's...
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Back To The Writing Game

Catching the tail end of the month here after a whirlwind trip - no, not to Bangladesh - to Legoland, which I must say was amazing. More amazing still, I didn't take my computer and I did barely any work. Guess what - the computer didn't pine without me and the world didn't end. A timely reminder!Back in January, I decided that I had to get back into the writing groove. After all, five years is probably long enough to hide behind a PhD and use it as an excuse for not actually writing anything else... So I set myself the task of entering a few short story competitions and submitting the novel for any relevant awards.Nobody has (yet) fallen on the novel and deemed it the next best whatever, but I'm delighted to say I've had some mentions for the short stories - look away now if you want to avoid...
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Bhola In Pictures

Just last week, the earthquake centring on the Myanmar region was equally strongly felt (measuring 6.9) in Bhola. Thankfully, there was no lasting damage - except perhaps to the nerves of Bhola's Children accountant, Sandy, who had arrived there from London for a few days!As some kind of affirmation - to myself mostly - that all is well, I've been glancing through the recent photographs and thought, why not share a few more here. It's always a challenge to find 'action' pictures as opposed to group shots - after all, who doesn't want their picture taken - so completely at random (and even more randomly presented, I know - sorry! I do try...) here they are:Getting one of the gardens ready for plantingOnce the gardens are ready, different 'teams' take responsibility for each bed.Lipi, the new school teacherPosing in the physiotherapy areaRihad with his new 'assisted device'Can you see Tahid up the tree??We currently...
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Beautful Bhola's Garden

It's probably not often that the Scottish flag is flown on the island of Bhola. Actually, it wasn't this time either. When we arrived mid-February, the boys and girls, resplendent in new school uniforms, were waiting to great us waving Swedish flags - but the thought was there!Two years since our last visit, and there have been many changes, but the warmth of the welcome remains, and in minutes, I feel as if I'm settled back into my second-home. We travelled on the overnight launch - a 'new' (aka 'almost sea-worthy') one - just in time for breakfast, and after that the time flew by!Our director, Zakir. has now been in post for a year, and Bhola Garden is settled and peaceful - well, as much as a home and school for fifty one children, a large staff, and frequent visitors ever will be! The younger children head off to the local...
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