Year one of commemorating the start of WW1 has ended – during which time so much has already been written, commissioned and broadcast. When I was asked to contribute to two anthologies for the occasion, I wrote a short story called “The Man in the Red Trousers” for Tony Bradman’s excellent collection of short stories for called “Stories of WW1” published by Orchard books. It contains excellent contributions by people like Malorie Blackman (our Children’s Laureate) and Geraldine Mccaughrean. I think we all made it an opportunity to explore issues through our own prism. For my part, I wanted to reflect the experience of so many Indian soldiers who fought in the trenches. I continued that exploration in my furhter contribution to Michael Morpurgo’s excellent anthology called “Only Remembered” published by Random House, containing contributions from all walks of life. We have four more years to go – and I’m sure there are still many more aspects of that period to write about. I recently reviewed a book called “Unknown Warriors: the Letters of Katie Luard RRC and Bar, who was a nursing sister in France throughout WW1. It reflects the dedicated, unsung, quiet heroism of the hundreds of nures, doctors, ambulance drivers and stretcher bearers who toiled alongside the soldiers, tried to save them, and held their hands as they died. A deeply moving and informative account of life within the theatre of war published by the History Press.

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Update: New Website Three days to go before I go to India. Trying to make careful selections of the right clothes and keeping within the weight. Sarah Macdonald got in touch via my contact form on my website, but my reply bounced back. Any school visit queries are best directed through my agent.

30 October 2014

I now have a new and updated website designed by Paul Welch. I hope it will provide the answers to all sorts of questions you may have.   Let me know.

It’s been quite a year of travel: a holiday with my grandchildren in Turkey, a trip to Brazil organised by the British Council and in ten days or so, I’ll be in India seeing places I’ve never seen before like the Ellora and Ajanta Caves, and visiting relatives in Allahabad, Lucknow, Shimla and Delhi. I still haven’t got rid of my itchy feet.

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Blackberry Blue

illustrations – of course! Getting like the Guradian – I mean Guardian.

Jamila Gavin

My set of six original fairytales called Blackberry Blue has now been published by Tamarind Press Random House.

I’m thrilled with the design of the book and the wonderful illustraions of Richard Collingridge. They are written within the fairytale tradition of Grimm and Hans Andersen, but extending the image of the new Europeans – those like me – from different ethinc backgrounds, who have been brought up in Europe, and need to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Richard tuned into this idea beautifully, producing the most evocative and imaginative images to go with my new fairytales.

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Blackberry Blue

My set of six original fairytales called Blackberry Blue has now been published by Tamarind Press Random House.

I’m thrilled with the design of the book and the wonderful illustraions of Richard Collingridge. They are written within the fairytale tradition of Grimm and Hans Andersen, but extending the image of the new Europeans – those like me – from different ethinc backgrounds, who have been brought up in Europe, and need to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Richard tuned into this idea beautifully, producing the most evocative and imaginative images to go with my new fairytales.

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New books for old

I used to grieve as old titles gradually vanished and went out of print. They represented years in my life; blood sweat and tears; me, me, me, embedded in them with all my aspirations. And times were changing. I knew I had to change too. But did I? Writing is so personal. In the end, I realised with relief, I could only be me, and write in my own way. If there are still publishers out there willing to publish me, then I’m all for responding and trying to write my best, and books must have their own life span as do we all.

Perhaps it’s having grandchildren now which has really rekindled my energies and interests. I’m writing for them what passionately interested me when I was a child: The Arabian Nights, the brothers Grimm, Hans Andersen; stories which were wonderful and horrific in turn. I’m now writing my own, wondering if they can or should still fall under the category “fairy tales.” Probably not. Still pondering what I can call them without being misleading. Meanwhile, 2011 saw the publication of Tales from India, and School for Princes: Stories from the Panchatantra, and last year saw the publication of Alexander the Great: Man, Myth or Monster. This year is full of projects to finish, and more to start. It’s exciting.

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Coram Boy in Bristol

For those of you who missed Coram Boy at the National in London a year or two back, it’s coming to Bristol as the Bristol Old Vic’s Christmas Show.  Some of the same production team – Tom Morris and the director, Melly Still are in charge, with a fine cast of professional actors. The difference – apart from it being Bristol not London – is that it will be more of a community show with local choirs, and children playing children. This will be a most exciting new production. Drownings, hangings and Handel. Don’t miss it!

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