On Belonging

by / Sunday, 30 August 2015 / Published in Writing, Writing for Children and Young Adults

Yesterday, my book group (The Redcliffes Book Discussion Group, part of the Book Discussion Scheme) won tickets to see Patricia Grace in conversation with Paula Morris in Christchurch. It was part of this year’s Word Festival. It might have been a bit of an ‘ask’ to get us all there by 10am on a Sunday morning, but it was a fascinating listen. The theme was ‘On Belonging’ and reflected on where people come from, how they arrive at places and whether they belong there.  It certainly got me thinking, which is, of course, the purpose of these events! My brother and I grew up in a Royal Air Force family, and like all our friends at the time, we moved from country to country. We both consider this a blessing, and I lived in England, Singapore and West Germany before I was 13, and I now live in New Zealand. Yet, when people ask me my nationality, I tell them I am Welsh, because my dad was from Old Colwyn and my mother’s family were mostly from Merthyr Tydfyl (a familiar name to my readers, of course). I don’t entirely ‘belong’ anywhere in the same way that people who are born, raised, live and die in the same town do, but that’s OK with me. I’m glad to have had the exposure to other countries and to have the sense of adventure and ‘anything is possible’ that travelling has given me. I wouldn’t be taking the leap of faith that I am to become a full time writer without thinking that my life ‘belongs’ to me and that I make of it what I choose.

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