And pause for a moment…

The last few weeks have been hectic, writing the book proposal and example chapter with Daoud Kuttab, so he can meet with agents in New York this week. All rather excitingly he’s there now, so I have my fingers crossed for him and just hope my writing stands up to the test.

I’ll be honest, writing proposals hasn’t really fallen into my ‘favourite things to do’ category just yet, but I suspect that’s simply because it’s my first time. With feedback from the agents in New York, and some more practice, I may find that I’ll warm to it; after all it’s the things I struggle and battle with in my teaching and writing that end up closest to my heart.

What I enjoyed most about the last few weeks was working on the example chapter and watching it evolve from eight pages of notes to 25 pages of rather compelling prose (even if I say so myself!). Talking with Daoud on Skype and reading about the Palestine–Israel conflict, I sometimes surprise myself when I look up and realise I’m actually still in Austria. I’m as immersed in this as I can be from another country, and it won’t be long till I have tickets for a 10-day visit to Palestine in real life as well.

That Palestine has applied for statehood last week makes Daoud’s book about taking Sesame Street to Palestine even more timely and relevant than we thought it would be when we started work on it; the International Press Institute’s World Congress in Taipei marks our first year working together because we met at the World Congress in Vienna after I’d written his biography for the IPI’s 60th anniversary commemorative book about its 60 press freedom heroes (Daoud is one of them).

The writing of the last few months has broadened my knowledge and understanding of ‘the craft’ even more, so Writing Genre: Creative Writing students at University of Salzburg will benefit in the coming weeks. I’ve had fun writing this semester’s course, but it’s such a challenge to decide what can be left out — it’s only 12 weeks after all!


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