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What is a Mentor?

  1. She’s the person holding the light at the (beginning, middle and) end of the tunnel when I’m flailing around in the dark, wailing and being neurotic.
  2. The one who keeps giving me a good kick up the behind – but picks me up if I fall!
  3. The ‘wise adviser’ originating from Homer’s Odyssey: entrusted with the care and education of Telemachus when Odysseus left for Troy.
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Rebel Reader Turns Writer

Reading is my long-standing rebellion; my nose has barely been outside a book since I learned my ABC. Age seven, I had to be forcibly ejected ‘outside to play’; by ten, I had negotiated a bedroom swap with my brother because a street lamp shone through his window if the curtains were carefully angled. Still at primary school I wrote ‘books’ because I’d read everything in the (very small) mobile library. At eighteen, I managed the ultimate rebellious act: away from home, I could finally read a book whilst I was eating my breakfast. Or my lunch. Or my dinner… I don’t do it so much now; I’ve come full circle in trying to set an example for my own child, but, I can still conjure up that little frisson of daring. These days – when I’m feeling brave – I call myself a writer, and I like to think the...
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Second Life for Bengali Wife

Yesterday I received another marriage proposal. That's just about double figures now, and fifteen years after my first visit to Bangladesh, it's great to know A Blonde Bengali Wife  is still in such demand. The proposals aren't really to me, of course, they're to the 'character' of me I created in the book, and it's both interesting and disconcerting in equal measure...

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The Right (Write) Angels

Angels come in many guises, and they tread so gently you might not recognise one until something prompts you to stop for a second and just think…

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This Editing Thing

The writing world seems largely split into two: those who love editing and those who would rather have teeth removed. I’m firmly in the former camp.

Nothing strikes fear into my soul like the perennial author interview question: where do you get your ideas? The thing is I hardly ever have any; blood from a stone doesn’t even go near it. Yet, I have students who come to class recounting five cracking ideas developed on the bus into town, and still had time to write their shopping list into a witty haiku.

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