The dream team of publishers for my new book!

Ruth HartleyBooks, Gods, Olympia, Reading, Reviews8 Comments

The Olympiad Publishers

The Gods of Olympus are smiling on me – that heavenly couple Zeus, Jupiter, and Hera, Juno, have undertaken to publish my new novel The Love and Wisdom Crimes. Zeus the thunderbolt thrower is all powerful so no problem there! Hera has exquisite tastes and sensibilities. The perfect team – a woman and a man!

My editor is Athena

Athena, Diana, is the wisest of the Gods. Who could be more skilled at offering literary advice, editing, proof-reading and making sure that every word of my book is perfect grammatically, syntactically – in fact, that it is perfect prose?

Eros is my agent.

What better agent can any writer wish for than the God of love, Eros, or Cupid. What reader can resist his arrows of desire for my book! What reviewer will not be enticed to write the most honeyed words of praise for my work? Read More and Comment …

Why I wrote, self-publishing and what went wrong and right.

Ruth HartleyUncategorized2 Comments

Friends and readers – news about my next book!

I am about to publish another novel. It’s been written and edited, read and re-edited and will soon be on its way to be typeset under the intriguing name of The Love and Wisdom Crimes. I wrote this book originally in 1996 from notes and poetry I had written as long ago as 1960. Since then it has been carefully rewritten. Here’s the tagline – “In apartheid South Africa, Jane finds it is unwise to love a revolutionary and a crime to love someone black”.



When did I begin to write stories?

As a child probably. All children make up stories. I seem to remember drawing comic strip stories about the cowboy I wanted to be! At school I was part of a gang that produced a scurrilous underground magazine for a year. Read More and Comment …

Never judge a book by its cover but please buy mine!

Ruth HartleyBooks, illustration, Imagination, Reading, Reviews, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, The White and Black Blues, Writing, Writing Process2 Comments

Book Cover design


The cover shows a tin heart nailed to a tree with the book title "The Tin Heart Gold Mine" in gold across it

“The Tin Heart Gold Mine” by Ruth Hartley. Cover design by Terry Compton Design

Cover of The White and Black Blues by Ruth Hartley

The Shaping of Water book cover









Dear Friends and dear Readers I have great need of your help.

This year I will be publishing my new book The Love and Wisdom Crimes. Its a book that has been 53 years in the making and 20 years in the writing. Next year I will publish my memoir When I Was Bad  which by comparison is a rush job done in 3 years. I think that good book cover design is essential in the marketing of books but I need to know what you think about book covers. Please, take time to generously fill up my comments page with your opinions about what you think of my covers so far – what book covers you like – and most important of all – what attracts you to a book. Does a cover matter to a kindle or eBook or an Audible reader? I am longing to hear from you all.

My salutary experience when I looked at the books I read!

I looked at the covers of my pile of books waiting  to be read and was surprised to see that on the whole, the book covers were not necessarily all that attractive, inspiring, or even of relevance to the story I chose. What makes you choose a book?  The thing is that when books are on a shelf in a bookshop, or library, or in your home, you only see the spine!

I realised that I choose books for the following reasons:-

A good review made me choose From Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi and Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.

If I know (and love) the writers. Atwood, Carter, Lessing, Le Guin, Rushdie, Atkinson, Brink, Gordimer, Coetzee, Roth, Gappah.

If I trust the publisher on the whole – to my surprise I found a majority of Penguin and Vintage books in my random pile. I wondered if this was about my taste in books or simply the way the book market is?

The books are news stories about topical Read More and Comment …

Blood Red Moon Poem – The Lunar Eclipse 27th July, 2018

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Family, Poetry, Zambia8 Comments




On a routine night the ordinary moon swims through a shoal of cloud.

It slides upwards as blotches of water vapour in saturated air slip away eastwards.

It’s a dead ball of dirt whose dust

was kicked about by two astronauts in 1969.

Held in place by Earth’s gravitational pull, it circles our planet,

one side dark as the space behind it, the other facing me always

keeps waxing and waning again and again.


I stare back.

Eye it.

Eyes blur.

I wipe my specs.


Bright-light neighbours


A walnut tree (Juglans nigra) black-blocks my viewing.

Son in Lusaka posts a pic.

Daughter in England taps out WOW!

Drought’s end obscures the Welsh sky.

The dead red Sky stone

looks quite 3D

like the one on TV.


Time spins slowly



THE MOON FLARES momentarily

and the eclipse ends.

– please let the light that shines on me – shine on the ones I love –

Captives of the Internet, to Facebook in thrall,

The extraordinary moon shines on us all.


Photos of the lunar eclipse taken by Alessandra Troielli on a farm near Lusaka, Zambia.

Thank you, Alessandra.

I got out of bed at 5.30 am to write this poem and thought of the poets I love and admire – Pascale Petit, Brian Bilston, Elodie Olson-Coons, George Szirtes, Tanvir Bush and many others – hope the moon shone on you all!

What is an identity? How do we identify ourselves?

Ruth HartleyCreativity, Family, Human rights, identity, photography2 Comments

How do we identify ourselves?

Two men are busy installing 4 large photographs on a stone wall.

Tanvir Bush’s photographs in the courtyard of the MDA Maurbourguet

What is identity? What criteria do any of us use to identify ourselves? Is it appearance? Tribe? Work? Status? Religion? Why do we need an identity? What do we use our identity for? To belong somewhere? To exclude another or many others? What identity do we think we have in someone else’s eyes?

We are always taking photographs or having them taken of us on cameras or on our smartphones. It’s the age of the selfie.

Do these images tell the truth about us?

How would or could we know?


Identities – a photographic exhibition

A man is looking at a series of phtographs displayed outside in a courtyard

Photographs in the Quinzaine exhibition of Identities

A man is looking at a serie of photographs displayed outside on a courtyard wall

Photographs in the Quinzaine exhibition of Identities








Every year Peleyre Association at St Lanne organise a fortnight’s exhibition of photographs in three places – Maubourguet, Madiran and St Lanne. Every year the exhibition is wonderfully stimulating. The photographs can be beautiful, challenging and funny. This year’s theme of Identities is especially thought-provoking and also extraordinarily varied and this year both my daughter Tanvir Bush and Read More and Comment …