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Winner!

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I’m amazed and delighted to have won this year’s Willesden Herald Short Story Prize.

My story, ‘Ward’, is about a young girl who gets very ill and how it changes her.

You can read it and the other nominated stories by buying the anthology which is a bargain at £5.99 (incl. postage)- the best place to buy it is here.

An extract:

She’d never had so many presents. Flowers, magazines, teddy bears and balloons, a poster of two puppies wedged in a boot. Sandra was the only visitor who didn’t bring a gift. Her presence was confusing, because she and Emily weren’t friends. Emily wondered if Sandra liked her the way she liked her classmate Maxine: quietly, from an awed distance, content to sit two rows behind. After ten minutes she noticed the way Sandra’s eyes returned to the needle in her arm, the IV line, the slowly shrinking bag. She asked if Emily was in pain, if she was going to have an operation. She wanted to tell everyone about her dying classmate.

 

 

‘Medieval Lifestyle’

A mining project in Xilinhaote, Inner Mongolia

A mining project in Xilinhaote, Inner Mongolia

Isobel Yeung, who works for CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, recently wrote a piece for The Independent in which she argued that the Western media are misrepresenting China’s policies towards ethnic minorities in Inner Mongolia. She argued that the government aren’t trying to destroy the culture of nomadic herders by moving them into cities- they just want to improve their ‘medieval lifestyle’. Here’s my response to this in The Independent.

2013 PEN World Voices Festival

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The program for the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York is now online, featuring many great writers, such as James Kelman, Aleksandar Hemon and Edna O’Brien. If you happen to have $1000 kicking around, I’d suggest you get a ticket for the Philip Roth Literary Gala event.

I’ll be taking part in two events in the festival, the first A Literary Safari, where I will be pursued, Running Man style, through a booby trapped labyrinth while giving a reading. The second is a more sedentary affair, though possibly equally perilous- I’ll be moderating an event on Revitalizing Endangered Languages.

Lots to check out- and if you’re not in NYC then, I’m sure a lot of it will be online on the PEN site.

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