'I am here, on the land they walked on, loved on, cried on. I am looking at their trees and breathing their air. I’m smelling their damp mornings and walking their bovine fields. I’m watching their birds alight on branches and listening to their twitterings and coos.'
Our International Writer in Residence at Charleston this year is Layla AlAmmar. Layla was in residence from 26 – 30 September, and has blogged about her experiences here.
About Layla AlAmmar
Layla AlAmmar grew up in Kuwait. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel The Pact We Made will be published in March 2019 by the Borough Press and her short stories have appeared in the Evening Standard, Quail Bell Magazine, and Aesthetica Magazine where her story ‘The Lagoon’ was a finalist for the Creative Writing Award 2015. She currently works as an English Instructor at a private college in Kuwait. In taking up this opportunity she is keen to show how a new generation of Arab-Anglophone writers are working to claim their own voice, their own ‘space’, and to bring their experiences and truths to a western audience.
About Small Wonder Short Story Festival
This will be the 15th year of Small Wonder, the foremost dedicated short story festival in the UK. Small Wonder attracts a dedicated and vibrant audience to this annual celebration of the short form. Writers featured at the festival over previous years include Mark Haddon, Lionel Shriver, Ali Smith, Kei Miller and Elif Shafak to name but a few. Small Wonder events take place in the newly renovated Barns, seating around 200, with an independent book shop on site. We programme a variety of types of sessions, most of which include more than one author.
Small Wonder takes place at Charleston in East Sussex, the former home of the Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and Duncan Grant. Charleston is a very atmospheric, culturally resonant and rural setting in the heart of the South Downs National Park. In Autumn 2018 Charleston will unveil its new gallery and exhibition spaces. This marks the opening of a major new cultural hub for visual and literary arts in the South East, with Small Wonder Festival at the centre of its launch season.