Open My Eyes, released March 2017, Pinter and Martin.
Any writer will tell you that the main components of fiction are experience, observation and imagination. But sometimes, particularly when the impetus to write comes from powerful personal experience, experience that, it seems, must be honoured, imagination can have a hard time freeing itself from the shackles of ‘what was’. For me, the question that […]Read Post ›
Heran Tadesse has the graceful confidence of someone who is used to being a muse. I first met her at a breastfeeding group I was running in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. She was hard to place; she has the strong nose and fine features of an Ethiopian, but back then she wore her hair in […]Read Post ›
Would you allow a stranger to cuddle your newborn baby? When babies come to soon, when they are sick and need to be in hospital, parents desperately want to be near them. In my work in hospitals in Ethiopia and the UK as a lactation consultant, I met mothers and fathers spending countless hours by […]Read Post ›
There’s a dark narrative that runs through women’s mothering stories, and it tells of the wolfish granny. She might sound like a figure from a fairy tale, but women in the mothers’ groups I’ve run in Ethiopia, Central Asia and the UK have told me that she’s alive and well. Among the kind, supportive, […]Read Post ›
I am writer…and a mother. Typically, the contents of my handbag include: keys, coins, lollipops, hair bands, plasters, umpteen pens (so that’s where they all end up), a small plastic person with his head missing, a sort of scurf of biscuit crumbs, a pebble and…a receipt with some precious words scribbled on the back. “Thunder […]Read Post ›
Today I miss Addis Ababa. It glitters in my memory, in its haze of smog and dust. It’s been nearly three years now and the haze of nostalgia grows thicker. I miss our friends, good coffee, the way the eucalyptus shimmers silver and purple in the mountain breeze. I live in Central Asia now, and […]Read Post ›
There are many ways to give birth. Given our basic anatomical inflexibility, obviously, there are only a couple of actual egresses, but wow, the variations in birth culture. “Just don’t go overdue!” warned a fellow ex-pat mother in Japan, “They stuck seaweed up my you-know-what!” Apparently, there is a chemical in the seaweed that dilates […]Read Post ›