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Showing posts from May, 2007

[Interview] Matt Beam

Matt Beam is an author, a teacher and a freelance journalist. He has taught in various capacities in Toronto, Vancouver, Guatemala, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand and has written for newspapers that include the Toronto Star , the National Post , Toronto Life , and Toro magazine in Canada. His first young adult novel, Getting to First Base with Danalda Chase , was published in the spring of 2005. His second novel, Can You Spell Revolution? followed in the fall of 2006. His third novel, Earth to Nathan Blue , will arrive in the spring of 2007, along with the U.S. version of Getting to First Base . Matt Beam spoke about his writing and his concerns as a writer. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? I started saying I wanted to be a writer when I was 15 years old, but apart from a few short stories in late high school, I didn't do much about it until more than ten years later, in 1998. I was a teacher in New Zealand at the time, and I had to provide a two-page

Interview _ Chris d'Lacey

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Chris d’Lacey has published over twenty books for children. He describes his first attempt at writing as “a gentle ‘Christmassy’ story” about polar bears which was aimed at adult readers. He started writing children’s fiction after a friend suggested he enter a competition to write a story for nine-year-olds. The story he wrote for the competition became his first book, A Hole at the Pole -- an environmental tale about a boy who wants to mend the hole in the ozone layer and enlists the services of a polar bear to help him. His books have been translated widely and one of his novels for children was highly commended for the Carnegie Medal . Chris d’Lacey spoke about his writing and his concerns as a writer. What was your first story called and in what way was it ‘Christmassy’? I was writing about a cuddly polar bear I’d bought my wife as a present! It’s the sort of romantic thing I do. Realizing I knew very little about polar bears, I began to read about them and the book

[Interview] Jean Ure, children's author

Jean Ure spent her teenage years writing. She published her debut novel, Dance for Two, when she was sixteen years old and dropped out of school to continue with her writing. She subsequently worked as a cleaner, a waiter and a nurse. She also worked at the BBC and as a translator for UNESCO in Paris. Her books include A Proper Little Nooryeff , Sugar and Spice , Boys Beware and Over the Moon . Jean Ure spoke about her latest novel and concerns as a writer. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? I had my first book published while I was still at school and immediately went rushing into the world declaring that I was an AUTHOR! Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the proceeds from one book were not enough to live on, and that while I might indeed be AN AUTHOR I needed to earn money just like all those other people who weren’t authors. Over the next couple of years I hopped like a flea from job to job, rarely staying anywhere longer than a month as they wer

Notes from the Detention Centre

Joanne Bean has been visiting her boyfriend, who is in detention and has been held in a number of immigration detention centers in the United Kingdom. Since July, she has been documenting what she sees and hears during her visits in e-mails that she sends out to a number of people. The following narrative is based on Joanne Bean's e-mails and gives an insight into some of the pressures immigration detainees and their families and friends experience. November 27, 2006 The Independent has published my questions to [Home Secretary] John Reid . "My partner is in one of your immigration removal centres, and at great risk if returned to Iraq, but you still seem determined to return him to his death. Do you not want British citizens to have foreign partners?" I asked. And John Reid responded: "I've always spoken positively about the cultural benefits migrants bring. However, we have to balance that with ensuring people are here legally; part of that is preventin

[Interview] Lucy Cadwell

Award -winning playwright and novelist Lucy Caldwell is one of the youngest writers to be shortlisted in the EDS Dylan Thomas Prize . In June 2004, her first short play, The River , previewed at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. It was subsequently produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Chapter Arts Centre and the Sherman Theatre (both in Cardiff) in the United Kingdom. She has written short stories for BBC Radio 4 , Zembla magazine and the V&A Museum. Her first novel, Where They Were Missed , was published in March 2006 by Penguin (Viking). Four months after publication, the novel was placed on the EDS Dylan Thomas Prize longlist. In addition to writing, Caldwell works with the Pushkin Trust , a Northern Irish charity that teaches creative writing (dramatic and prose) to primary school children and their teachers. She also works with the Niamh Louise Foundation, a recently established charity seeking to address the problems of teen suicide in the Province

[Interview] Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor's first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things , found him a place as the youngest contender and the only first-time novelist on the 2002 Booker Prize longlist. The novel went on to win the 2003 Somerset Maugham Award . It was also shortlisted in the Best First Book category in the Eurasia Region of the Commonwealth Writers Prize , and the Best Newcomer category in the 2004 British Book Awards . His latest novel, So Many Ways to Begin , made it onto the 2006 Man Booker Prize longlist . Jon McGregor spoke about his writing and the qualities that set his writing apart. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Firstly, when I was about 14, and listening to too many Smiths records. But more seriously when I was around 20, at university, and rapidly discovering there wasn't much else I was good at. In the writing that you're doing, what would you say are your main concerns? Life and the choices people make. Love and loss. The small detai

[Interview] Delia Jarrett-Macauley

Delia Jarrett-Macauley is a writer, academic and broadcaster with a career spanning over 20 years. Her books include a biography of the Jamaican feminist Una Marson and Reconstructing Womanhood, Reconstructing Feminism: Writings on Black Women (Routledge, 1996). The latter was the first British feminist anthology to examine concepts of womanhood and feminism within the context of "race" and ethnicity Jarrett-Macauley's first novel Moses, Citizen and Me , (Granta Books, 2005) is a haunting tale about Sierra Leone's civil war, which forced guns on an estimated 15,000 children between 1991 and 2001. In 2006, Moses, Citizen and Me won the George Orwell Prize for political writing. The annual prize is awarded to writers judged to have best achieved George Orwell's aim "to make political writing into an art" and seeks to recognize good accessible writing about politics, political thinking or public policy. In their comments the judges said, "Anyo

[Interview] Dr Susan Shumsky

Dr Susan Shumsky is a healer, counselor, prayer therapist, teacher and an author. For over three decades, she has been teaching meditation, self-development, and intuition to students in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East. She received a doctorate in Divinity from the Teaching of Intuitional Metaphysics in San Diego, and has written several books on meditation, prayer, and spiritual healing. Her books include Divine Revelation (Fireside, 1996); Exploring Chakras (New Page Books, 2003); Exploring Auras (New Page Books, 2005); Miracle Prayer (Celestial Arts, 2006) and Exploring Meditation (Career Press, 2008). In email interview which took place between October 9 and November 22, Dr Susan Shumsky spoke about her experiences and the books she has written. How did it all begin? What motivated you? I have been practicing spiritual disciplines for 40 years. I spent 22 years in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , founder of Transcendental Meditation and guru of

[Interview] Courttia Newland

Courttia Newland is fast becoming one of the most significant voices in Black British writing. His work includes the novels The Scholar (1998) and Snakeskin (2002), collections of short stories - Society Within (1999) and Music for the Off-Key: Twelve Macabre Short Stories (2006), as well as the critically acclaimed plays, The Far Side, about the murder of a young black man by a white youth, and Mother's Day , which premiered at the Lyric Studio Hammersmith in autumn of 2002. Newland has also edited IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) and is currently writing the screenplay to a film adaptation of The Scholar . In an interview that took place in July, Courttia Newland spoke about his writing and his new book. When did you decide you wanted to become a writer? Although I had been writing for many years as a "hobby," I only turned to serious writing when I was 21. I had tried various avenues for making money and none of them had worked.

[Interview] Pascale Quiviger

Pascale Quiviger was born in Montreal and holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy as well as a degree in Fine Arts. She lives in England and Italy, where she paints, writes, and teaches visual arts. Her work has been exhibited in both Canada and Italy. She first entered the literary scene with Ni sol ni ciel (2001), a collection of six short stories. She followed this up with her highly acclaimed novel, Le cercle parfait (2003), which won the Governor General's Literary Award for French Fiction. The novel was subsequently translated into The Perfect Circle , in English, by Sheila Fischman and was short listed in the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize . Pascale Quiviger spoke about the many facets of her work and the connections that run through them. You are a teacher, a visual artist and an author. How did it all begin? I was passionately writing and drawing as a child, and it just never stopped. I have been encouraged by my parents in any way they could. I went on studying

[Interview] Cindy Jefferies

Even as a small child, Cindy Jefferies wanted to write. "As soon as I learned to read I wanted to write stories," she says on her website. "I was always telling tall tales to my two younger sisters, and I still have a 'newspaper' I wrote about my older brother's friends, including Colin Flooks, who later became the famous rock drummer Cozy Powell .” She says at school a teacher called Janet Hurst nurtured her love of literature. "I also used to write plays, and one about Charles the Second was performed by my class at primary school. My favorite lessons were always English, History and Art." But it wasn't until after leaving school, raising a family, working in a variety of jobs, and setting up her own business that she decided to make a serious effort to write. "I started grumbling to my family about still being a frustrated writer. My youngest son suggested I wrote a book for him, so I did." The result was an historical fantasy,

[Interview] Margaret Kaine

Award-winning romance novelist Margaret Kaine worked as a lecturer at further education colleges before deciding to focus on writing. Her short stories have been published in women's magazines in countries that include Australia, Norway, South Africa and Ireland. Her first novel, Ring of Clay , won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Award in 2002, and the Society of Authors' Sagittarius Prize in 2003. Other novels include Rosemary (Poolbeg Press, 2003), A Girl of her Time (Coronet Books, 2004), Friends and Families (Hodder Paperback, 2006) and Roses for Rebecca , which is coming out in 2007. Margaret Kaine spoke about her writing and what she strives to achieve with each new book. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? I always wanted to write, but found it impossible when I was younger. Working as a lecturer in further education and with a young family, there just wasn't the time to devote to it. I began to write when my son left