A thousand years of solitude

“A thousand years of solitude and sadness after the death of the greatest Colombian of all time” – Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia. Called “Castro’s courtesan” by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and “one of the greatest writers of our time” by Enrique Pena Nieto, president of Mexico – the writer’s adopted home – … Continue reading

Strong female characters

One of the most frequent reactions to my first novel, Water Will Find its Way, is that it is an inherently feminist story. Although I explore the mother-daughter bond in extreme situations where the female protagonists show extraordinary courage and determination to survive despite the odds, I didn’t set out to write a feminist novel. … Continue reading

review of Water Will Find its Way

Check out this review by Booklover Book Reviews of Water Will Find its Way. I guess if it ever gets mainstream published I’ll have to change the cover 😉

She wanted storms

“You will hear thunder and remember me,and think: she wanted storms…” ― Anna Akhmatova What an amazing woman. Poet Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), having lived through war, revolution and Stalinist terror, had storms aplenty. Condemned by Russian totalitarianism, desired by fellow writers and admired by other great Russian figures of the time, from Pasternak to Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva … Continue reading

Seamus Heaney, RIP

In English class at school the teacher used to berate me for looking out the window, daydreaming. “Are you too good for this? Do you know it all already?” she said. She was wrong, I was always focussed in English class, but staring out the window might have been my way of digesting the words … Continue reading

Allied landing in Sicily – 70 years ago today

The Allies landed in Sicily on July 10, 1943. The British army was led by General Montgomery, the American army by General Patten. Winston Churchill’s oft-quoted comment that Italy was the soft-underbelly of Axis Europe was about to be proved true, largely because Sicily was abandoned by the fascist leaders and left to fend for … Continue reading

Absinthe, anyone?

Now I know what that plant is. It took Bryan Talbot, artist and comic book writer to point out that the silvery green fronds that cover the castle grounds and stick out from ruins in the old town are: artemis absinthium. Here in Sicily for the Etna Comics festival, Bryan and his wife Mary were … Continue reading

Dacia Maraini condemns femicide and violence against women

  Last Saturday, Milazzo’s Castle – which features strongly in my next book – hosted a book launch for legendary Dacia Maraini, who is half-Sicilian. The inspirational writer was promoting her new book “L’Amore Rubato” – Stolen Love, eight short stories based on true facts about physical and psychological violence inflicted on women. The eight … Continue reading