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?

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

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.........

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

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

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

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!

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 through...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,...

A Brief New Year's Letter to All

Dear Friends, 2015 has been a huge year of growth, change and transition. If it's taught me anything, it's taught me not to be too afraid of what's next. It's not always great, but sometimes it's marvellous, and always it's important. So here's a great big welcome to...

Writing and Reading Through the New Year

2015 has been an incredible year for me, full of development, both personal and professional, world travel, and big changes. I can already tell that the new year will bring more of the same.  I think it's time for a rest during this holiday season and so I bring to...

The Writer Retreats

I'm writing this on Tuesday, but you'll be reading it days from now because I'm going off-line for a bit. I'm taking myself on a much needed short writing retreat. I have half a poetry collection burning a hole in my computer and a notebook full of notes and research...

Trying to Do Some Good Despite It All

I arrived back in London at 5.30 in the morning on Saturday. The flight seemed uneventful. I watched a film (Ted 2 -- I know, ridiculous, but so funny), had something to eat and then went to sleep. So far so good. But when I landed and turned on my phone I found I had...

Of Monsoons and Memories

Finally, after all these years of coming to Cambodia, I have experienced a real Cambodian monsoon. Actually, several days of them. Monsoon -- the word alone summons up all these feelings of exotic otherness. And, although they can be a colossal pain in the butt, like...

Back in Siem Reap!

I have had a great first week back in Siem Reap, switching back and forth between my work with Writing Through and my work at Anjali House. For Writing Through, this week has been about seeing old friends, making new ones, setting up repeat workshops for last year's...

Haze inside and out

Ah, jet lag..... Traveling to SE Asia from London doesn't get any easier. I sleep in deep, melatonin-induced bouts of slumber, only to wake up rarin' to go every four hours or so. That is, my brain wakes up rarin' to go, but the rest of me continues in that weird half...

Why the Novel?

It seems at least once a year somebody is railing about the death of the novel. I've thrown my hands up in despair about it so many times that I won't bother to show you the links. But there's a somewhat different and interesting take on the question going around...

John Burgess: Temple in the Clouds. Fiction vs Non-Fiction

John Burgess, former foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, has written a fascinating and compelling history of the temple known as Preah Vihear, which lies on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Ownership of this important site has been disputed for...

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