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Bronwen Griffith's latest novel

Bronwen Griffith’s latest novel

Here Casts No Shadow

Here Casts No Shadow is the latest novel by local author, Bronwen Griffiths. HOT’s Zelly Restorick asks about her deep connection with the written word, her motivation and the inspiration for her latest book, which she will be talking about at two events in May.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, why writing is important to you and the subjects you feel are close to your heart.

I started writing fiction over twenty years ago, but it’s only since my first novel, A Bird in the House, was published in 2014 that I have gained a modicum of success and the confidence to say, ‘I am a writer’. I write – and I think most authors will agree with this statement – because I am compelled to, and also because I enjoy the challenge that writing brings. In addition, I feel there are things I want to talk about that are better communicated through fiction.

My short poems and haikus tend to be about the natural world – observations of what is around me, while my flash fiction is generally about people. But novels are different. They take me a long time to write and the re-drafting and editing process is also a lengthy one.

Tell us about the inspiration for your new novel.

The theme of this new novel, Here Casts No Shadow, like my previous books, is war and conflict, although, at its heart, it’s a story about a family.

In the book, I aim to explore the layers and complexities of war, and how people cope under extremely difficult conditions. No one comes out unscathed from such terrors but people do get through. But how do they get through? Can they learn to forgive? Can there be reconciliation and justice? And what happens to people’s moral compass under such conditions?

The genesis for the book came about because of my contacts with Syrian refugees and the campaigning work I undertake for Syria. However, this is a work of fiction, set in a fictitious country. I did not set the book in Syria, partly because I’ve never been there and also because I didn’t wish to be constrained by particularities. The war in Syria is also on-going and none of us can predict the ultimate outcome. Here Casts No Shadow is a story – it has an ending.

Tell us a little bit about the new book.

Here Casts No Shadow tell the story of fifteen-year old Mira, who has grown up in the small town of Zazour. Her country of Lyrian has been under the grip of a ruthless dictator for decades, but Mira and her family have always lived a quiet life. However, everything changes after a protest in the town. With Zazour under siege, she and the family are forced to flee to a refugee camp across the border. Eventually they settle in Neeland, thousands of miles from their homeland. Now, in adult life, as Mira’s father begins to fail in hospital, a terrible incident she and her older brother Kaz have kept secret for years threatens to explode – just like the bombs that fell on Zazour – and destroy the life Mira has built for herself.

Tell us about your connection to Hastings. Is it a good place to be a writer?

I was recently long-listed for the Bath novella-in-flash award. In this I wrote about the village in North Worcestershire in which I grew up in the 1960’s. As a child I loved village life but at fourteen or so I definitely rebelled against it, and I lived in London for ten years, before spending fifteen years in Hastings. I now live in a village again but I am still, to a degree, part of the Hastings ‘scene’. Hastings is a good place to be a writer and today there are more opportunities for writers than there once were. We have Bookbusters and the Printed Matter Bookshop, both of which hold readings and literary events. There’s also Hastings Fringe and later this year, a Hastings Literary Festival, as well as numerous writing groups and poetry slams.

Bronwen Griffiths

Bronwen Griffiths

Here Casts No Shadow by Bronwen Griffiths is published by Troubador on the 28 April 2018 – as both an e-book and printed book. Find out more and to purchase the book, link to the Troubador website.

Bronwen will be talking about the inspiration for her latest novel and giving a short reading at the Printed Matter Bookshop, 6pm, Tuesday 8 May and at the Rye Bookshop, 6pm on Friday 11 May. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Find out more about Bronwen here and read HOT’s article about Brownen’s flash fiction book: Not here, Not Us.

Posted 08:32 Friday, Apr 6, 2018 In: Literature

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