SHOBHA’S BOOK is about to roll off the press. I’m always thrilled when one of my writing students gets a publishing deal, even though this has definitely got nothing to do with me: it’s Shobha Nihilani’s writing skill, not my teaching that won this breakthrough. Although she lives in Hong Kong, and has an Indian background, the first edition of the book (the first of many, I hope) will be in Danish. You can read about it here: -- although the write-up is only in Danish, so far.
Meanwhile she’s working on a second novel – an Indian thriller. “It’s almost complete and I have a good feeling about this one,” she said.
OPPORTUNITY! COULD YOU CREATE a powerful female fictional character? A comic book firm is looking for writers who can do just that, I heard this morning from Caterpillerboy, our correspondent in the United States. Kirsten Simon, an editor at Shadowline, a comic book firm, is looking for “a super-heroine for the 21st century”. Most comic book competitions are aimed at artists – this is a rare opportunity for writers to take part. Click here for more details.
CHRISTMAS IS SPREADING through China. The world’s biggest country has adopted the festival wholesale – although the man on the street is unsure about what’s behind it all. “It’s surreal,” Stuart Cooke, my correspondent in Shanghai, reported this morning. “In department stores and from sidewalk street lamps loudspeakers play all the old Christmas tunes – British and American – in English.”
He added: “In every street of this city of 21 million, you see Christmas lights and decorations. Fantastic displays rise up in the squares, giant intersections where four, five or six roads meet together. Others blanket the walls of buildings and at night thousands of lights blink red, green, white, and blue with as much or more excitement than in a New York or London.”
But when he asked members of the throngs of shoppers what Christmas was all about, they drew a blank. “Maybe it's much the same in the West, only better disguised,” he said.
READING IN THE DARK won’t hurt your eyes. This is one of several myths exploded in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, Christmas edition.
We don’t use only 10 per cent of our brains.
Hair and fingernails don’t continue to grow after we die.
Mobile phones are not dangerous in hospitals.
Shaving your legs makes the hair grow back thicker.
APOLOGIES FOR MENTIONING US celebrities, but my more youthful readers are up in arms over the Jennifer Love Hewitt story. In deference to them, here are my comments. There are allegations by the US media that Jennifer Love Hewitt has gotten fat, following the publications of pictures of her on the beach. Many newspapers have published the story, but without any of the actual pictures. Here’s one of the pictures, so you can make up your own mind. Left is Jennifer today, and right is her a year ago. In my opinion, these images clearly show that she was unhealthily model-thin a year ago, but now looks healthy and natural. Shame on the US media for demonizing a woman’s right to look healthy.
YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR is off to UK for a couple of weeks, and Internet connections are likely to be few. Apologies for the lack of updates for a while. Have a wonderful Christmas.