Ever since the first rumblings of the Syrian crisis, back in the early spring of 2011, I’ve felt deeply moved by the plight of everyday Syrians desperate to find a home and to lead a life free from disease, poverty and conflict. Stories of child refugees have felt particularly poignant as I’ve recently become a mother.
When I was started writing What Milo Saw in December 2012, I knew that I wanted to include a character who would reflect the ideas of home and belonging and I immediately knew that this character had to come from Syria. Which is how Tripi was born, one of the most loveable characters in the novel. It is Milo and Tripi’s friendship, which allows them to expose the horror of what’s happening in Gran’s nursing home. Tripi becomes one of Milo’s best friends and acts as a surrogate father in the absence of his Milo’s Dad. There’s another beautiful twist to their friendship at the end of the novel, which I’ll leave you to discover.
Tripi is more than just a character in Milo’s story. Along with Milo, Gran and Sandy, I adopt his point of view, writing whole chapters through his eyes. Over the course of these chapters, we learn about how Tripi fled Damascus with his sister, Ayishah. I have often thought about Tripi and his sister’s story, wondering what happened to Ayishah when they were separated in Aleppo. It’s with great joy that I am returning to their story in my upcoming sponsored writeathon.
On the 5th of December, I will be sitting in Waterstones in Reading, Broadstreet, from 9am-6pm, raising money for Syrian refugees. I will be spending the day writing a short story which explores what what happened to Ayishah after the explosion in Aleppo and will publish it on the books page of my website.
As well as writing the short story I will be available to sign books and to offer writing tips. I’ll be stationed in the window of Reading Waterstones, you can’t miss me. Do pop by to say hello.
It would mean the world to me if you would consider sponsoring my writeathon or giving a donation for reading my short story. You can do this by visiting my JustGiving page.