Creative writing

At least 25 writers turned up for the Solomon Islands Creative Writers Association which now meets on the first wednesday of the month at the National Museum.

This blog is temporarily about travel and homeschooling. But as this week the girls are at school in Solo, I’ve got time to catch up with some of my Solomon Islands’ obsessions – friends, forestry and books.

Lola and Nell are meant to be sharing UK info, somehow they’ve both ended up sharing info about the US a place they’ve never been. Nell was asked to teach a class of younger children and picked the life of the native american. Lola spent some time yesterday researching female suffrage in the US. So much for talking about what they really know about… the indigenous Londoner’s ability to window shop, skip food from bins and know which tubes aren’t running at the weekend.

Meanwhile Pete and I inveigled our way into one of the meetings of the Solomon Islands Creative Writers Association. This was a wonderful mix of poets,rock stars, musicians, photo-essayists, get-it-off the chests and journalists/published writers. Pete was amazed to find one man in the room, Priestly, welcoming him and reminding the other writers that he’d been to London and stayed with us and as a consequence still followed West Ham’s results!

I felt very nervous – also a mix of honoured and proud – to read out a short section of my enovel Coconut Wireless. It’s free, so if you want to download a copy just go to and tap in the code ZV47Q (until 1 sep  2011when the code will change).

All very like the Society of Authors meeting back home with everyone bigging up their own writing, but in a very positive and friendly way. And like every organisation one of the main worries was fundraising and how to stop the next meeting being interrupted by mobile phones going off (including through the whole of the closing prayer). As one wit said, I’ve never heard a phone join in a prayer to god before!

My favourite piece was by Vincent (the treasurer) who has done a masterful parody of Solomon Islanders’ love of betel nut, borrowing the phrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. That was fun: but there’s a more serious message to the writing – it can help the country make sense of and move on from the violence of the coup in the early 2000s. When the secretary Georgina told us it was the war and having her first child that inspired her to write my friend ML just started nodding her head excitedly – the exact same feelings led her to write an award-winning book about Bougainville.

Writing is a great heart-break healer.

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