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World Book Day 2022: Who inspired you?

Which local female GBBO contestant is penning her first novel? To celebrate World Book Day, we asked her and a few other local authors to tell us who inspired them to start writing.

PRIYA O’SHEA

Most of you will recognise her as a contestant in the GBBO but did you know that Priya O’Shea is also penning her debut novel? The Good Indian Girl’s Cooking School is about a group of young British Asian women who find themselves at a cooking school, but what starts off as lessons in making curries to impress potential suitors, quickly turns into something much more.

“Life isn’t all Ha Ha Hee Hee was first published in 1999 by Meera Syal. The opening scene is the cacophony of an indian wedding procession down a residential street through the eyes of a neighbour. I knew the scenario well, I could picture it, I’d been to weddings just like is since I was a child and yet it was the first time I was reading something in a book that felt so close to my own life. Even though the characters were in their 30s and I was still in my late teens, I still connected to aspects of their lives more than I had any other book I’d read and that’s something that had stayed with me. It made me want to write, and to share more experiences of what it feels like to be British Asian, and to grow up between two distinctly different cultures. There is a lot of complexity that comes with being the child of immigrants, to be raised in setting so very different to that in which the parents/grandparents didn’t grow up and is something that I want to share through my writing.”


TAMSIN WINTER

Tamsin Winter is a multi-award-winning author who writes fresh, funny and heartfelt fiction for readers aged 10+. She lives in Leicestershire with her son and is currently working on her next (third) novel.

“I must have been about nine years old when I first discovered Judy Blume. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret revealed to me a character that was smart, funny, awkwardly self-conscious, sensitive and – best of all – going through puberty. These were the days before you could simply google ‘what is happening to me?’ and the idea of speaking to an adult (or even my older sister!) was cringe-inducing at its worst. Judy Blume’s books spoke to me about crushes, kissing practice, bra stuffing, peer pressure, periods, heartache, and everything else I wanted to know about. Blume’s books don’t shy away from difficult topics, and they don’t patronise young readers. This is teenage-hood laid bare. Her books were exactly what I needed to navigate my tricky teens and they are still so relevant today. If I had to pick one author who inspires me to write for young people – it has to be Judy Blume.”


ANUPA ROPER

Primary school teacher and children’s author Anupa Roper finished her first book, Sparrowlegs last year. The book offers a wonderful message to children about having a positive body image and that who we are, is far more important than our appearance.

“So many authors I love and admire. As a child I loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as I felt like I was drawn into the adventure! Roald Dahl was a favourite too, his work is so playful and fun, a true classic. My inspiration for my own children’s book has to be a mix of Charlie Mackesy and the brilliantly inspiring messages his writing sends to the world and Julia Donaldson – because who doesn’t love rhyme?!”


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