Votes for women, the working classes, men, and the dangers of a single story

Ruth HartleyHuman rights, Politics, Race, Slavery, Storytelling, Votes, Women's suffrage2 Comments

Women, the vote, and the stories told about it 100 years later On March 8th I will join friends to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is always fun. Its great to be celebrating a centenary since British women got the vote. The vote was only for women then, who, like me now, had property – but hold on! 100 years […]

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Colonialism, Displacement, Family, Migration, Politics, Race, Racism, ZambiaLeave a Comment

New Year in another country On New Year’s Day we fled from France across the snow-covered Pyrenees pursued by stormy winds and heavy rain. There we wandered along empty twisting roads among ruined and isolated stone villages and ancient monasteries in the  brutal mountains of Spanish Aragon. In our hotel room the television showed no news and told no stories […]

Mythological me – images from a memoir of childhood

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Colonialism, Family, Imagination, Race7 Comments

For a child, facts are fantastical and fantasy, factual Somewhere in my infancy, there is a thick green privet hedge, clipped and trimmed to right-angled perfection. It encloses a perfectly square empty space brimful of desolation. It contains no house, no people live there and it is nameless. Its eternal position is located somewhere inside the fortnight when my mythical […]

Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit, James Baldwin on America’s racial problem and Charlottesville.

Ruth HartleyPolitics, Race, Racism, Writing Process9 Comments

    We are the same flesh – – we are brothers and sisters – we are parents and children – we are lovers and friends – we are all one people – humankind. Until we stop hurting each other in our desire for power we will never know peace and happiness. The first two films are from more than […]

Is White Writing Black, Right Writing or Wrong Writing?

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Politics, Race, Storytelling, The Tin Heart Gold Mine8 Comments

Writing black and white people, men and women, good and bad. This is a rewrite of post on Marginal Scribbling that contains some complicated ideas that need thrashing out with other writers and readers. I intended to repost this anyway but it seemed more relevant after the launch of my novel The Tin Heart Gold Mine because I was asked […]