Heavy books, light books, eBooks and my books

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Bookbinding, Books, Colonialism, Creativity, Politics, Promotion, Publication, Reading, Reviews, Songs, Storytelling, Writing, Writing Process2 Comments

The books of my childhood When I was a kid, few of us had bookshelves of children’s stories at home. There were fewer books for children and they were solid tomes. I was lucky. My mother took me to the only public library, the Queen Victoria Library in Salisbury, Rhodesia. It was a remarkable 50 year-old building, but that was […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Society of Spectacle and what ‘appearance’ signifies for writers

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Creativity, Film, identity, Politics, Promotion, Reading, Society, WritingLeave a Comment

Marketing books and the writer as commodity I didn’t know yesterday what I would post today until a television programme last night that was supposed to be amusing made me angry. There was noisy laughter, mockery and four-letter words. Frankie Boyle, the presenter joked that Guy Debord had shot himself in his heart – or  – maybe his head – […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]