Sunday, 17 July 2016
first degree was in illustration at Chelsea School of Art and in 2005 I
completed an MA in Writing the Visual in Norwich at NUA. Since then I have
worked across both disciplines of Art and Creative Writing.
Amanda Addison is a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art and holds an MA from the Norwich School of Art & Design. She lectures in Art & Design and Creative Writing and taught art and design for a number of years, winning awards for her paintings, illustrations and textile works. She had been the Travel Writer/Illustrator for a range of articles for the Archant Newspaper Group.
Her hand embroidery featured in public collections, including that of the Redditch Needle Museum, and provides inspiration for much of her novels which taps into the popularity of vintage fashion, the love of handicrafts and the drive for creative identity and self-sufficiency.
Her previous full-length novel, Laura’s Handmade Life, was published by Little, Brown to great acclaim and has been translated in several languages. Following consultation with library staff and the public, Laura’s Handmade Life made it into final 12 works of fiction for Norfolk Narratives 2014.
Amongst numerous awards, her short story, Alternative Renditions, a re-telling of traditional fairy tales, was selected by Bridge House Publishing, and she was runner-up for the Cinnamon Press Novella Award.Currently Amanda is on to the Longlist of the Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize with her novel for 9-11 years, Billy's World Class Bake-Off.
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Here is Part Two of Sarah Bower's post about her writing residency at Lingnan University in Hong Hong. Please scroll down to the post dated 4th July for Part One and Sarah's biography:
|View of Central from Victoria Peak|
|Front cover of the student anthology|
On a personal level, I was going through the surreal process of getting divorced at arm’s length. My third novel, Erosion, was published in April 2014, in the middle of my stay, and I felt oddly out of control of that process too, as if the book were a child who had left home without leaving a forwarding address. The book I was writing, entitled Love Can Kill People, Can’t It? (now on its final edits and hopefully for publication next year), is set in Palestine and Yorkshire. My own transitional and impermanent state was reinforced by the world around me.
Hong Kong’s history is determined by its geographical location on a major trading route through the South China Sea. Its native people have virtually disappeared and been overtaken by incomers from all over the world. Most of the Chinese who live there now are descended from mainlanders, economic migrants or refugees from the upheavals of the Maoist era. Westerners rarely stay longer than three or four years, the Philippina and Indonesian maids send most of their money home so put down no roots in the Territory. Triad money flows through Hong Kong’s shopping malls on its way to the West. Everything is temporary, everyone is in flux.
It was an hour’s bus ride from my home in the New Territories to Central. The bus travelled along the shore, and I could look out over the narrow channel between the mainland and Lantau, where Hong Kong’s airport is located on land reclaimed from the sea. The channel is a bit like an aquatic M25, crowded with tiny fishing boats, inter-island ferries, leisure craft and container ships the size of Manhattan. Aircraft lumber up from Lantau and seem scarcely to miss the bus roof en route to Shanghai or Tokyo or Sydney. A cat’s cradle of suspension bridges, glittering with traffic, links Kowloon to Hong Island, whose iconic skyline emerges mystically from the smog. (I never did manage to get a good photo of the distinctive clawed roof of IFC1, from where Christian Bale’s Batman abseiled in The Dark Knight Rises.) I was struck by the way in which the natural and the manmade have combined in this city, whose sun rises eight hours ahead of Europe’s, and which is altogether brighter, faster, more exciting and more alive than any European city I know (and I will defiantly include London here!), to create an extraordinary beauty. A beauty whose particular quality lies in its unnerving transience.
No-one ever turns off the lights or the air-con in Hong Kong. No-one ever cleans the beaches of the detritus of the ships which clog its sea-lanes. It’s not advisable to eat the local seafood or vegetables grown in China because of pollutants and pesticides. You can’t be there for long without developing a vertiginous sense that the human race is going to hell in a handcart. But Hong Kong is a particularly exotic handcart…
Monday, 4 July 2016
Sarah Bower writes about her residency at Lingnan University, Hong Kong:
Towards the end of 2013, I decided it was time to run away. I was working for the British Centre for Literary Translation, helping to run a mentoring scheme for emerging translators. This located me in a world in which no-one I worked with stayed anywhere for long, wherever they might be based. I’m a light sleeper and frequently found myself engaged in email exchanges with people in Bogota or Byron Bay at all hours of the day and night. It was exciting; it made my feet itch.
So I started to trawl the web and follow up personal contacts in pursuit of a writing residency. I’d set these up in Norwich for other writers and translators, and it quickly became clear to me that a residency would give me, not just the chance to get away, but the even more precious opportunity for uninterrupted writing time, something I hadn’t had since completing my MA in 2001.
A friend in Hong Kong alerted me to a residency being advertised at Lingnan University, a liberal arts college in Tuen Mun in the New Territories Of Hong Kong. Their English department was looking for a writer to spend a semester at the college, to write and also to undertake some teaching and outreach work in the local community. Within weeks, I found myself applying for a Chinese work permit and packing for the tropics. I was to fly out in January 2014 and wouldn’t be returning to the UK until June. It was an exciting thought – Greece was the furthest east I’d been at that point.
|View from Sarah's apartment in Lingnan|
I had no idea what to expect. I always try to travel without expectations because that way, it’s easier to keep an open mind and be receptive to what you find. What I found in Hong Kong were extremes. The Territory is made up of more than 200 islands as well as Kowloon and the New Territories carved out of the Chinese mainland. Some districts are among the most densely populated on the planet, others, such as the island of Lantau, are largely given over to exquisitely maintained national parks. Lantau, with its mountain hikes, put me in mind of the West Highlands fringed by white beaches with palm trees and barbecues. There is fabulous wealth – shopping malls where you can buy a diamond choker or a wardrobe by Stella McCartney but not, for example, a tube of toothpaste – and a troubling underclass of ‘maids’, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, who have nothing but a tiny room in their employers’ apartments. On their Sundays off, they congregate in Central, in temporary encampments constructed of rugs and benders and corrugated board, where they gossip, eat picnics and conduct ‘boot sales’ of everything from clothes to vinyl records. When it rains, which it often does, many congregate in the undercroft of Norman Foster’s HSBC headquarters, where their voices echo around the concrete and glass like those of trapped birds.
|New Year Lion Dance|
The sense of dislocation induced by the loss of almost an entire day to international time zones never left me. My first real experience of my new home was Chinese New Year, when everything closes down for the best part of a week and a bewildering variety of ceremonies took place from which I felt cut off by my ignorance. I watched, I photographed, but not until months later did I make sense of the lion dances and fireworks and offerings of strong liquor in red cups on the steps of corporate offices. And hunger became a serious issue as all the shops and markets were closed! The markets remained places of mysterious fascination – the strange fish, bought alive for the table and dried for medicinal purposes, the unintelligible cuts of meat, entire stalls devoted to different kinds of mushrooms, ginger roots of phallic proportions. One immediate and abiding favourite sold fish, kitchen equipment and counterfeit iPhones...
Part Two of this article will be posted on Thursday.
Sarah Bower is the author of three novels and many short stories. Her work has been translated into ten languages. Her first novel, The Needle in the Blood, won the Susan Hill Award 2007 and her second, The Book of Love, was a Toronto Globe and Mail bestseller. Her third, Erosion (written as S. A. Hemmings), was published in 2014.She was writer in residence at Lingnan University, Hong Kong in 2014 and currently teaches creative writing for the Open University, Writers’ Centre Norwich and the Unthank School. She holds a MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was shortlisted for the Curtis Brown scholarship in 2001. For five years she managed the mentorship scheme for literary translators run by the British Centre for Literary Translation. She currently works as general manager at Writer’s Centre Norwich and is working on a short story collection and a new novel, Love Can Kill People, Can’t It?, inspired by the history of Palestine since 1947 (though much of it take place in Whitby…)