A Chapter Called ‘Women’


(Published in The Lifted Brow) Yasmina tells me that in Dubai, the women’s effort came first, and then the government decided to give them support. I meet her one evening in the Dubai Women’s Club during Ramadan, after her fast has ended. She possesses a loose sort of beauty, with wide eyes and mouth. Her […] Read more…

Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights


(Chapter One of my travel memoir, Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights, published by Pan Macmillan in 2012.) That first night in Abu Dhabi, I dreamed of a woman wearing a dazzling black headscarf hurrying through a maze of clay-coloured alleyways. She disappeared among the shadows cast by the domes of a nearby mosque and then […] Read more…

Andres and the Jinns


(published in Verity La) Miss, WALLAH, it’s true. They are everywhere. Every time you hear a noise in your house, or your TV stops working, or your computer beeps…’ Hana paused dramatically. ‘It’s a jinn.’ She searched my face for a sufficiently spooked reaction, and while I did my best to play along, I was […] Read more…

Field Research


(published in Glassworks Literary Magazine) We meet in Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Crème de la Crème; we meet in offices nested within gleaming towers, on the café-lined terraces of the Dubai International Financial Centre, in private clubs, empty food courts, inside palatial homes seated on regal, high-backed couches with crystal chandeliers above us and Filipina maids […] Read more…

Teaching Errors


(Published in Brevity) I lean over Todd’s desk. His head is down, eyes concentrating on the tangle of words he’s produced. I read silently along with him, parsing out scribble and scratches. As my bitten fingernail zigzags over his sentences, I realize that even my fingers don’t match my image of a fourth grade teacher, […] Read more…

5 Ways To Generate Great Writing from Your Reading


Think back to when you first learned to read. What was it like? Back then, you read word by word. You focused on what each word or phrase was communicating. You read closely. Today we are all practiced readers. We have become too familiar with skimming, skipping words, daydreaming. Yet writers’ words teach us how […] Read more…

Finding Your Way Into Writing Travel Memoir Essays

writing travel

Travel memoir writing isn’t what you typically read in the Travel section of a newspaper, or in many glossy magazines. When you’re writing travel memoir, you aren’t compelled to lavish superlatives upon a beach resort or trendy city. You don’t have to recommend the restaurants where you ate, the museums you visited or the hotel […] Read more…

6 Ways to Structure Your Travel Story and Jumpstart Your Writing

travel memoir

 I’ve learned to jumpstart my writing through inventing interesting structures for my travel memoir stories. Innovative ways to organise the elements of my travel essay can help me locate where my essay begins, and it can even help me decide the entire arc of the story I’m going to tell. Inventing different ways to structure […] Read more…