The emotions that memory can invoke


This month’s New Writing theme is now live on the website and features novel extracts, short stories and poetry by Maura Dooley, M. Pinchuk, Sean O’Brien and Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Sophie Goodwin, Web Editor and Information Officer in the British Council’s Literature Department says the focus theme for this month is Memory.

“The writers approach the different emotions that memory can invoke: consolation, pain, nostalgia, melancholy as well as more tangible elements such as music or landscape with a sensitivity and lingering thoughtfulness that brings back to the reader many of their own personal memories and an examination of things that speak to them individually.”

The idea of memory in a futuristic location is at the centre of Maura Dooley‘s fascinating exploration of a cheerless dystopian universe in her novel extract Malachite and Verdigris. Explored through the recollections of a child, Dooley’s work presents a bleak vision.

Abdulrazak Gurnah‘s short story My Mother Lived on a Farm in Africa plays with the idea of memory and how it can be manipulated when seen through the eyes of others. Strengthening the resonance of the past is the reference made to previous work set in Africa and the powerful memories of writers other than Gurnah himself.

Sean O’Brien‘s moving poem “Praise of a Rainy Country” is a tribute to the remarkable writer Julia Darling who died in 2004. It is an evocative piece of work that focuses on our sense of hearing and explores the way in which different music speaks to us.

M. Pinchuk’s piece Memories Like Photographs examines the idea of repressed memories and explores the minds defence mechanism when attempting to deal with memorable moments that leave pain and anxiety in their wake.

“The website includes notes for teachers, notes for readers, author interviews and glossaries which we will be updating on a monthly basis, focusing on a wide selection of short stories, poems, novel extracts and essays,” Sophie Goodwin says.

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