When I was twelve years old, sleepovers were a giddy affair of crumpled clothing, whispered secrets and superhuman effort forcing sleeping bags back into their cases. Then came a run of horror movies and it seemed no adults really had oversight over what we watched. I expect we were very sneaky. In quick succession, we… Read More From Fear to a Love of Clowns
I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Hidden Colours, my second novel, scheduled to be released in late autumn. The novel is set in modern day Berlin. My husband is from Berlin and we studied there together, and sometimes we dream about living there again, but that’s a story for another day. I’ve… Read More Personal Histories: A Little Boy and a Can of Coke
I’ll tell you how I’m feeling today, if you tell me too. Not for us, the false niceties papering over our humanness. Not for us, the filters to smooth out our skin on social media, to give the grey pallor of our faces a sunlight hue. I’m tired and overwhelmed, and I know it will… Read More Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?
The baby didn’t sleep last night. His need for me is wearing. I stand in the hallway, exhausted, listening to him whimper in his cot after I place him there. I cup my hands in prayer. The shape they make is at first alien, a relic from childhood rituals when our family attended the mosque… Read More On Being Human
‘Has the world always been broken?’ asked the girl, eyes laden with sorrow Her grandfather knotted his fingers together, paper-thin skin over cobweb veins and considered which truth to convey Should he comfort her as he longed to do, until her heart had no knowledge of hate or unfold to her the wisdoms he had… Read More Broken World, A Poem for My Daughter
One of the ways we perceive those around us is by categorisation. Like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. We label people to understand them. She is ambitious: he is laid back. He is adventurous; she is scared of her own shadow. She is a ski bunny; he is a couch potato. She is black;… Read More On Categorising Ourselves
The coolest girl in school had secret trysts behind the bike shed, drank wine from a water bottle at mass, hitched up her skirt to show her knobbly knees, shaved her hair into a mohawk and wore an insolent stare Other girls lamented over cracked lips and frizzy hair but the coolest girl in school… Read More The Coolest Girl in School
There is something enchanting about the innocence of youth. Have you ever noticed how the old take comfort from the young? As if an encounter with youth is a tonic for their own regrets, cleansing, a guard against mortality even. The promise of youth is a wonderful thing. Yet however exhilarating this passionate freefall, disappointments… Read More The Romance of Youth and Romanticising Writing
Taking on a challenge A few weeks ago I went on a course called ‘We All Need Words’ at The School of Life in London. It was my first day away from the kids since our son was born and I was both excited and anxious. It was great to have the chance to do… Read More Introducing My Superheroes. Who are Yours?