A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

This Season of Gold - Our Olympic Summer doesn't have to come to an end

'Goodbye to Britain's golden summer,' wrote columnist Jonathan Freedland at the close of London 2012. It was indeed golden, and not just because of the bumper crop of British gold medals that
appeared to take the public by surprise in a sports-mad country that rarely seems to come top of the charts.

Sunday night marked the end of a season of wonder that seemed to surprise the hosts as much as the guests, a period where we looked in the mirror and were met by an unexpected reflection – one we rather liked. Read London 2012: Goodbye to Britain's golden summer by Jonathan Freedland




Like many ordinary people here in the UK,  my family barely scraped any tickets for the Olympics proper but managed to get a few to the Paralympics.

We treated ourselves to the cable car (the Emirates Air Line!) linking the Royal Docks to the Millenium Dome (now the O2 Centre) ... and what luck but who should we find in the cable car behind us but members of the Philippine Paralympic Team!

My family posing with members of the Philippine Paralympic Team - Jinkee Gulon (wheelchair tennis),  Josephine Medina (table tennis) and Isidro "Sid" Vildosola (athletics). My kids were over the moon!

I loved the London Olympics and I was proud to have had a tiny role in the London Festival that held cultural events up and down the country as part of the Olympics.

My story The Boy Who Lived on a Pancake, illustrated by Deborah Allwright, was featured on Story Cloud which was part of the London Festival

The UK media is now thick with discussion about the Olympic legacy - what has the Olympics and Paralympics done for us here? The answer of course is: PLENTY.

What I hope, as one who has crossed over from the other side of the world is that the legacy can go viral, that the spirit of these Olympics has been implanted not just here in the UK but in the rest of the world.

For me the best part of this season had to be the Paralympics. As Jonathan Freedland said, after describing how blind footballers do penalty shootouts: "This was humanity at its best, working together to achieve what would be impossible alone."


If sport is often a blend of courage, skill and teamwork then the Paralympics are sport all right – only more so. The name Paralympics hardly does the event justice: they are not to the Olympics what a paralegal is to a lawyer. In some ways, they are a more extreme version: they are the ultra-Olympics. Jonathan Freedland

The games won over many cynics at the end (I was never cynical about it, but hey, I'm an immigrant - they say immigrants are more likely to be patriotic than the natives).

I hope Londoners don't revert entirely to their grumpy selves but savour the loveliness of having done something really well. Ultra Olympians? That's us!

In the video below (hope you can play it wherever you are) the catchphrase is 'They say only dreams can save us' - and this summer was proof that they can come true too.

The fact is: our Olympic summer doesn't have to come to an end.





In the spirit of vicarious tourism, let me share some photos from our day out to watch wheelchair basketball (my new favourite sport) via the cable car from the Royal Docks to the Millenium Dome (now called the O2 Centre):


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

3 comments :

  1. Aw - i can't see the photographs but I so agree with the sentiment and I'm not an immigrant ( thought I greatly suspect my family, like so many, once were!). How fantastic to run into the Filipino athletes - we were lucky enough to see the dressage at Greenwich Park and I'll never forget it - what a fabulous Summer of Sport it's been.

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  2. Oh thanks Kathy, don't know why it's stopped working but they can still be viewed here

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  3. I would have loved to be there. But I watched every day and thought both events were fabulous. It was interesting listening to everyone chatting about changing attitudes to disabled people, I found that it changed my attitudes to myself and my fitness levels and how I approached the challenges of life. So, I now have new walking boots and when the wrist's good enough will be joining the local swimming club for adults. Have used the boots!

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