The Shaping of Water

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Books, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Freedom Fighters, identity, Politics, Power, Reviews, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water2 Comments

Returning to the past to build the future This year I time-travelled back more than 30 years. I returned to the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka to the place where golden weaver birds build their nests above small sun-worshipping crocodiles. Here, there once was the excellent Zintu craft shop, a regular Zambian ladies lunch, an Independence Day National Art Exhibition and […]

The River’s Story

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, illustration, Imagination, Power, Storytelling, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, The Shaping of Water, Truth, Zambia4 Comments

We all own the River. That’s what we believe. The world of nature is ours and we can do what we like with it. The River belongs to us. We can use it – we can waste it – we can worship it. Not one of these ways of looking at the River tells us what it means to be […]

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 […]

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 […]