I am a writer and drama teacher working in the South-West. I live a stone's throw from Bristol on the edge of the Mendip Hills, a short twenty minute drive from the wonderful Tobacco Factory and all its cutting-edge shows/cultural enterprises. On the drama teaching front, I currently run the Children's Saturday Drama Club at the Merlin Theatre, Frome, delivering weekly workshops. This term we are concentrating on the following devised workshops: The tales of Hans Christian Andersen, notably The Emperor's New Clothes, The Tin Soldier and The Matchstick Girl, working towards a sketch show in July to coincide with the Frome Festival. On the Creative Writing front,I am actively seeking funding to stage a production of 'Murdoch', a three act play that I have written which focusses on the international trade in coltan and its derivative 'tantalum,' the new 'black gold' without which, the IT Age we live in would not be possible. The play looks at the conflict between the preservation of the worlds' natural habitats versus the insatiable desire for minerals to feed our IT 'fix'/cravings. Other Writing Projects: a) I recently came third in The Bridgwater 2013 Short Story Prize, judged by Dame Margaret Drabble,OBE, the celebrated novelist. My short story entry - The Ituri Forest - looks in more depth at the plight of boy soldiers in The Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and links their life experiences with the trade in coltan. My aim is to self-publish a collection of ten short stories on the war/environmental theme. Lastly, check out 'Jem and Coral,' another environmental allegory/novel that I wrote last year, available online at Amazon. Author title: C.A.Heaven; title of book : 'Jem and Coral'. Again I have self-published it through CreateSpace - print-on-demand eco-friendly publisher; thus one pound from every book sold shall be donated to The Marine Conservation Society. The plight of the world's coral reefs are at the heart of the novel: it is a mixture of allegory and optimism, fantasy fiction and hard-cutting reality. Current project: a novel entitle Hobo House charting 50 years of division in the Middle East with a defiantly optimistic ending that aims to bridge the divide of all the respective combatants and innocent victims.
My short story The Ituri Forest was placed third in the 2013 Homestart Bridgwater Short Story Contest this month. If you wish to read it on-line, go to the Homestart Charity website. The story looks at the iniquitous trade in coltan, the new 'black gold' without which laptops, Ipads, all the current fashionable IT products would not be possible. Unfortunately this lucrative mineral is primarily sourced from The Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with devastating effect. Notably the impact on the rainforest environment, and the resident rare gorilla population. On a wider scale, boy soldiers still struggle to survive, their lives held at ransom to the various competing military groups of the six periphery nation-states, all of whom have also identified the lucrative trade in the new 'black gold' as a means of furthering their own military-political and economic ends. But my story, The Ituri Forest is upbeat and has an optimistic ending! Read on and spread the world about the world's mineral trade. (There are deposits of coltan in Eastern Australia - away from human populations and in less ecologically diverse an area: try and buy IT products that source their components more judiciously with concern for the environmental impact of our planet, perhaps? The choice is yours and mine!) Below is a photo of me with Margaret Drabble and the other prize winners, Helen and Deborah. I am the one in the proverbial green and dark blonde hair in the back row.