Heavy books, light books, eBooks and my books

Ruth HartleyAfrica, apartheid, Bookbinding, Books, Colonialism, Creativity, genre, 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]