Words, the power of words and the work of wordsmiths

Ruth HartleyBooks, Creativity, Gods, Politics, Power, Writing, Writing Process, Zambia2 Comments

“For magic consists in this, the true naming of a thing.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea Words and editing I’m engaged in a major rewrite of my children’s book The Drought Witch. It’s an exciting task expanding a children’s picture book into a novel for 9 to13-year-olds but the interesting work is in the editing and […]

Lily and the baby that is the colour of love

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Displacement, Human rights, identity, Migration, Race, Racism, Songs, Storytelling, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, Writing2 Comments

That song about Lily, the pretty migrant from Djibouti Once again on Tuesday evening, the Krama Singers rehearsed the Pierre Perret 1977 protest song about Lily, who came to France in a ship full of immigrants ready to collect garbage in Paris. It’s a song I’ve grown to love as I’ve grown to love France – though I also see […]

Stories about wars that stop us remembering to forget

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Migration, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, The White and Black Blues, Truth, War, Writing, Writing Process7 Comments

Black Cowboys in the Wild West and African-American soldiers in WW2 There are facts we don’t know and facts we choose not to know because they don’t suit us. There are facts that are hidden from us by politicians and power-hungry people and there are facts which are distorted by the media, by myth-makers, advertisers and film makers. When it […]

Hop, skip and jump to the heartbeat of life

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Creativity, Family, Imagination, Poetry, Songs, Writing, Writing Process5 Comments

The Child in the Garden The child in the garden goes hop, skip and jump and sings to herself. She dances her world into being. The garden is dusty, dry sand, withered leaves and sharp-edged stones. The child draws in the dirt. The garden is a clearing in a forest, a marketplace of musical insects, a place where snakes wait […]

What a writer does and doesn’t do all day

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Books, Imagination, Learning, Music, Promotion, Publication, Reading, Writing, Writing Process1 Comment

All beginnings are hard – just look at the time already! It’s a good morning’s work when I sit down at my laptop in my pyjamas, before breakfast, ignore my husband, begin at once to write, and then carry on for hours. There were many a good night’s work done when, as a single woman, I wrote after supper, then […]