The Institute of Development Studies of UK held a short story competition for its students, staff, members and research partners, to encourage fiction writing on development. The event was held as part of its 50th anniversary. My story won the second prize. It is titled, The Interview. You can read the story here, on the The Guardian’s Global Development website, or on the IDS website.
(Photo: A visual summary of some of the key discussions at the Bond Conference)
On February 26 and 27, I participated at the Bond Annual Conference, Europe’s biggest international development event. I primarily covered the discussions of the CONNECT strand that focused largely on partnerships and collaborations. Overall, the conference offered some rich and diverse insight on pressing humanitarian and development challenges of today. Continue reading “Looking beyond ‘business as usual’”
Monday, 12th February was the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.
Tens of thousands of children continue to be recruited as child soldiers in many war-torn countries. In fact, there seems to be no end in sight for these rising trends. While many children are forcibly recruited, some also join as they see no alternative in the midst of brutal conflict. The figures are alarming. Continue reading “Portraying child soldiers in fiction”
In the final year of my undergraduate degree, about 10 years ago, I undertook a module on the theme of fiction and science. This wasn’t my first choice of the module, but by the end of it, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. For my final BA dissertation, I unpacked the ideas of ‘human’, ‘civilisation’, and ‘rights’, by examining three texts that can fall within the realm of science fiction – Frankenstein, Brave New World, and Never Let Me Go. Continue reading “To what extent could Frankenstein’s Creature be regarded human?”
I first read Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece Rebecca in my mid-teens. Its opening paragraph mesmirised me – it was one of the most beautiful and haunting paragraphs I had ever read –
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited”
Aravind Adiga’s award-winning The White Tiger is full of contrasts – ‘twinned pairs and dualities‘. These highlight, not all too subtlety, the widening gap – this ever-present divide – between the rich and the poor, between progress and under-development, between promise and hopelessness. The passages are abound with irony.
“Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like Negroes and white men. But in reality there is no such difference. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit. Change places, and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Everyone who has mixed on equal terms with the poor knows this quite well. But the trouble is that intelligent, cultivated people, the very people who might be expected to have liberal opinions, never do mix with the poor. For what do the majority of educated people know about poverty?”
“We were never trying to deny our femaleness. Instead, we wanted to expand the notion of what it means to be female. The notion of “female” should be so sprawling and complex that it becomes divorced from gender itself. We were considered a female band before we became merely a band; I was a female guitarist and Janet was a female drummer for years before we were simply considered a guitarist and a drummer. I think Sleater-Kinney wanted the privilege of starting from neutral ground, not from a perceived deficit or a linguistic limitation. Anything that isn’t traditional for women apparently requires that we remind people what an anomaly it is, even when it becomes less and less of an anomaly.”