Writing Through Comes Home to Anjali House

Writing Through Comes Home to Anjali House

Every Writing Through workshop is special, but for me personally, the one that I facilitate at Anjali House is a highlight of my year. After all, what has become an international NGO began as my Anjali House creative writing workshop seven years ago. I ran this, this...

Discovering a Lost Temple: Chao Srey Vitbol

Discovering a Lost Temple: Chao Srey Vitbol

  On Saturday, I had the remarkable experience of visiting a temple very few people (especially visitors and tourists) have ever heard of. It is called Chao Srey Vitbol, or Beautiful Granddaughter, and the aerial photograph above shows how huge it is. My husband,...

A Landing and A Shot Gun Wedding

A Landing and A Shot Gun Wedding

It's a new year and a new segment of our new life -- the Cambodian segment. Although I have been coming here to work for years now, this time it's different. I have a newly retired husband with me not only to carry my bags (as he so quaintly puts it) but to help me...

A Year in Reading: 2016

Well, it's been quite a year, personally, professionally and politically. As I sit down to write this, my annual year-end reading list, I am realising that 2017 will begin my ninth year of being a blogger, and even though the blog has changed in many ways over the...

The Importance of Ritual

The Importance of Ritual

I have been thinking about rituals a lot lately. The holidays are fast upon us and that would be enough of a reason. This will be our first Christmas/Hanukah season with all four of our kids around us (our two sons and both their wives). That in itself calls for new...

From a Child of the Aftermath

From a Child of the Aftermath

T + 1 and counting..... It's one week since the election of Donald Trump and I have been struggling to figure out what to do about it. I have tossed between hiding away from the world and all it's connectivity, and wilfully diving down into the sinkhole of the global...

Adventures in Teaching

This past week, I traveled up to a small town called Samrong in Oder Meanchey Province, near the Thai border. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. I've been to remote places before to teach, and I really didn't know what I would find. This has been a very busy and...

Cambodian Monsoon

Cambodian Monsoon

For the first few years of my coming to Cambodia, I came during the dry season. I remember one talk I was giving at the International School in Phnom Penh when, after the students had finished with their questions, the teacher turned to me and asked if I had any...

Back East

Back East

I'm now back in Cambodia for a busy couple of weeks splitting my time between Writing Through and Anjali House. I can tell you that it's a much longer trip to SE Asia from New York than it is from London. The jet lag was pretty intense, but after five days I seem to...

Does Spelling Count?

Isn't that the question that every student asks? Well now for me it really does seem to matter in  a new way. Over the past quarter century I adopted the British way of spelling in most of my writing, and as someone whose stock in trade is words, that was important....

Getting Into Your Writing Head

Getting Into Your Writing Head

I can't even begin to say how much stuff there is in my head -- not necessarily useful stuff, mind you, but the kind of stuff that feels important and necessary at the time. Over the past few years, I have gotten used to juggling lots of different work-related balls....

Huh? What Did They Say?

Huh? What Did They Say?

There's a lot of serious stuff going on these days and, to be honest, I'm in the need for a bit of fun. Plus, it's the middle of August, and here on my island home that means the height of the summer season with all of its excesses and silliness. So, what should I...

Navigating Through the Storms

Navigating Through the Storms

At the beginning of July, we moved out of the UK. That move after 26 years -- a lifetime, really -- coincided with the storm brought about by the Brexit referendum. There's no need to describe what that was like. Anyone likely to be reading this blog post will know...

Where Do Poems Come From?

Here's a little story..... In 2008, when I was promoting my first novel, Tangled Roots, I was interviewed by a BBC affiliate radio station. It was one of my first ever radio interviews and I was both excited and nervous. It was going well. I was hitting all the...

In the Writing Room

Thanks to the fantastic comic writer, Lynda Renham, for hosting me today on her blog. Here it is and here I am...... https://lrcook.wordpress.com/in-the-writing-room-with/

The New Tate Modern!

The New Tate Modern!

Patience is a virtue. For the past five years, I have looked out my window to see trucks and piles of dirt and men in yellow vests and hard hats. There have been cranes and cranes to build cranes and then cranes to take down the cranes that built the cranes. The road...

All Together Now

All Together Now

The Don and I hosted a great evening last night. As one of our 'inching our way towards departure' events, we held a party celebrating retirement, speeding up and new goals. For me, the most wonderful aspect of it was how many different parts of our lives were...

A Difficult Post to Write, Or -The Meaning of Home

A Difficult Post to Write, Or -The Meaning of Home

Strange as it might seem, I  have been writing posts on this blog for over eight years. These past eight years have seen many, many changes, all of which I've recorded here in one way or another: children have grown up, gone off to university, and even gotten married;...

Lots to Celebrate

Lots to Celebrate

It always feels a bit weird tooting my own horn, but I have just come back from a whirlwind 2 weeks in the States where I had a lot to celebrate. First, was the wedding of my elder son to his long-term girlfriend. We couldn't be happier about this, and we're thrilled...

Exciting News for Writing Through!

Exciting News for Writing Through!

NEWS RELEASE   Contact: Sue Guiney                [email protected]   Writing Through Among the Winners of Judith’s Reading Room’s ‘Freedom Through Literacy’ Award   Writing Through, an organization which teaches conceptual thinking and self-esteem...

The Joys of Being Read To

What a great couple of days! This week, Writing Through held it's second annual full workshop at Sala Bai, an important NGO which takes poor kids from all over the country and trains them for the hospitality industry here in Siem Reap -- which means real jobs with...

International Women's Day and Gender Equality

International Women's Day and Gender Equality

Earlier this week, Cambodia celebrated International Women's Day. The schools were closed and everything. It is a national holiday here (which just confirms to me the inkling that this country has a keen sense of irony). But programs on Gender Equality education are...

The Complexity of Phnom Penh

It's been a busy week with a mini-holiday thrown in as my husband came to visit and we headed off on my annual trip to Phnom Penh. Now there's a crazy place -- not as crazy as Bangkok, but it's trying. It makes Siem Reap look like a sleepy backwater. The traffic is...

Reading, Writing, Listening: Part 2

(Wordpress is being wonky, so I've had to split this into 2. Here's the last part. Sorry...) ---------- The week ended with an actual writing day for me, working on the next chapter of my work-in-progress. And there will be more of that over this weekend and through...

Reading, Writing, Listening: Part 1

Reading, Writing, Listening: Part 1

It's been an exceptionally varied week. It started on Monday with a short Writing Through 'Taster' workshop for the students in the Gender Equity Program of Bakong Motawni Junior High School, as supported by Caring for Cambodia. Gender Equity issues are hugely...

Anjali House and the Meaning of Place

Anjali House and the Meaning of Place

This past Saturday night Writing Through held the Big Event which showcased the work of 24 students from Anjali House, the educational shelter where these workshops began. It was a beautiful, though somewhat steamy, Siem Reap night, and this year, the event was held...

Wat Damnak

Wat Damnak

Last week I ran the first of my Writing Through workshops for this year. Others have done theirs already, but this was my first, and it was held with students at Anjali House, where my programme first started six years ago. The theme this time was 'Place', as I...

Sweet Home, Siem Reap

Sweet Home, Siem Reap

So, I'm back -- back in my room at my guesthouse, back at the educational shelter, Anjali House, where this all began. I spent my first week wearing my Anjali House Board Member hat, checking in on administrative and fundraising tasks, talking to the staff and...

On my way…again

On my way…again

I'm on my way back to Cambodia, this time for what has become my annual two-month trip. Two months always sounds like a very long time, but when I look at the calendar and all that I have already lined up to do, I realise it will go by in a snap. Packing is always a...

The Meaning of Literacy

The Meaning of Literacy

What do we really mean by literacy? This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, both as a writer and as an educator. We know what we mean when we say someone is illiterate. Often, to those of us in the West, that word is used to mean stupid, at worst,...

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