National award-winning poet and winner of the inaugural Fenland Poet Laureate Awards in 2012, Elaine Ewart is currently studying for an MA in ‘Wild Writing: Literature and the Environment’, at the University of Essex. She writes poetry and short fiction, as well as creative non-fiction about the natural world. Elaine, a former lawyer, lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Her poetry blog can be found at: www.flightfeather.wordpress.com
Elaine Ewart in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?I have written stories ever since I was very young
What do you love about Short Stories?I love the challenge of creating a whole believable world in a short space of time. Also, the opportunity for open-endedness and surprise.
Do you write in other forms?I also write poetry and creative non-fiction.
What distracts you from writing?Internet videos of ravens pushing snowballs down hills. Stuff like that.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?I am passionate about wildlife conservation and choral singing.
What is your favourite book?Villette, by Charlotte Bronte
Who are your favourite writers?Alice Munro, and Penelope Fitzgerald have written some amazing short stories and I also admire the work of the poet Kathleen Jamie.
Where is your dream location?On a remote Scottish island with seabirds. But not for too long.
What one item would you put into Room 101?Misplaced apostrophes. (A rash reply, perhaps…)
Do you have any advice for new writers?Keep going.
Work by Elaine Ewart:
The Lacquered Box
Yasuko works in a brothel in Tokyo. One night she is visited by a new client... "The front door was already closed against the storm, and I thought I was finished for the night. Crossing the landing, I was on my way to borrow a jar of face cream from Mayu, when I heard the bell. Then, Mama-san’s fulsome stream of welcome: of course it was not too late, it was her pleasure, she had the prettiest girls, as well as the most refined and cultivated... Her tongue ran on. That meant a stranger. How old? I paused, silent-slippered, at the top of the stairs. From here, you can see, in Mayu’s words, ‘close enough to spit’. Older men are generally sent my way. The ‘traditional’ clients, Mama-san calls them, those who like my tiny, doll-like feet and hands, and want to kid themselves they’re connoisseurs of high culture. I can even perform a tea ceremony and, in theory, play my late mother’s ancient koto, although I’ve not fitted the pick on my finger since I first left home. Fortunately, no client has ever asked me for that form of entertainment."
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