Monday, 6 June 2016

Jemma Wayne - Chains Of Sand


Now that my university creative writing studies have finished for the summer, I have time to indulge in a more personal choice of reading list. No more textbooks until October, so I have started with a fab book called 'Chains of Sand' by Jemma Wayne. I have nearly finished the book now and I'm absolutely loving it. Not usually a theme I would go for as I tend to prefer more romantic novels, but this has had me gripped. 

Chains of Sand is a fictional exploration of the relationship between identity, religion and conflict set in Israel and London over the past ten years. Through the prism of four families caught up in between the tensions of clashing cultures, Jemma examines loyalty, fear, peace and conflict.


The Blurb - 'What makes someone up and leave their life to join a conflict in a foreign land? How can we navigate a world where people of different race and religion are forbidden from love? What does our identity or country really mean in a world that is imploding? These questions are explored through lives of two men, one desperate to leave Israel and the other destined to return, and a secret love affair in the heart of war-torn Jerusalem.

Udi, a 26 year old veteran of the Israeli Army, Daniel an apathetic London banker and star-crossed teenagers Jewish Dara and Muslim Kaseem will reveal the complex human story from behind the media headlines. 

Chains of Sand explores racism in Israel, anti-Semitism in Britain, deep-rooted hatred, and the struggle of four families dealing with the prospect of letting their children sacrifice everything they know for everything they want. It explores the importance of feminism within religious conflict and how women search for truth and rationality, where men rush to extreme positions.'


Politically engaged from a young age, Jemma Wayne graduated from Cambridge University with an academic scholarship for her achievements in Social and Political Sciences, before becoming a journalist and author. Jemma comes from a creative family, where her father is the composer Jeff Wayne who wrote the musical ‘The War of the Worlds’, based on the HG Wells novel, her brother Zeb Wayne is an acclaimed DJ and her sister is the actress Anna-Marie Wayne. 

Jemma’s first novel, After Before, was published by Legend Press in 2014. It was long-listed for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and was short-listed for the Waverton Good Read Award. Jemma’s writing is regularly featured in the Evening Standard, Independent on Sunday, Jewish Chronicle and she is a columnist for The Jewish News and a regularly featured blogger at The Huffington Post.  Jemma Wayne’s first non-fiction title, Bare Necessities – a tongue-in-cheek guide to being a grownup – was published by Piatkus Books in 2004. Her play, Negative Space, ran at The New End Theatre, Hampstead, in 2009 to critical acclaim. Jemma lives in North London with her husband and two small children.

Pitfalls Of Trying To Stay In Shape As A Mum By Jemma Wayne: 

Before children, I used to run four or five times a week. I’d go for a long road run, or meet my friend and old training partner for some sprints up Primrose Hill. Sometimes we’d even go to the athletics track. Since children…let’s just say my exercise regime is a little different.

It wasn’t just having to wait the six weeks for the tummy to knit back (after my second daughter arrived it never did!). It wasn’t just the exhaustion, or the transition from free agent to 24-hour mum. It wasn’t just the lack of fitness, or attempting to time a run so as not to fill my milk with lactic acid before the next feed. It wasn’t just the anxiety about leaving my baby, or the difficulty in knowing when I’d get a 20 minute window to try. It was all of those things. And more. So that exercise – previously a passion and a release – became a challenge, and yet another task.

But it takes a while to find one’s balance. And I think not putting too much pressure on oneself at the start, when you’re in the midst of chaos, is probably a good thing. So too is adapting, exercising in manageable ways – in front of the TV, or in short bursts, or with an encouraging friend, or even with your baby. This last idea has been getting easier and actually really fun. When my eldest daughter was a baby we tried baby yoga, but she wouldn’t play ball. All the other babies laid still and cooed. My daughter did not. But now she is five, and we’ve been climbing together, we’ve shared a tennis lesson. And with her two-year-old sister in tow, we dance, a lot. (Often to Bieber…)
Chains of Sand is out now (Legend Press, £9.99), buy your copy here.

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