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Suzanne Joinson Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Photographer's Wife (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Suzanne Joinson
Suzanne Joinson regularly writes travel pieces, fiction, essays, and journalism for all kinds of publications like The New York Times, Lonely Planet, The Telegraph, Vogue UK, and Independent as well as many other places. She has also published travel pieces, short stories, reviews, and essays.

She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester where she teaches creative non-fiction, fiction, memoir, and autofiction. She holds the British Library Goodison National Life Stories Fellowship, and has also been awarded the Gwyn E. Jones Fellowship at the Museum of English Rural Life and University of Reading. Suzanne also won the New Writing Ventures Award for Creative Non-Fiction for a piece she wrote on letters found in Deptford Market.

Before Suzanne wrote and lectured on creative writing, (from 2002 until 2012) she worked in the British Council Literature Department, traveling widely in China, South East Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and across Europe and North Africa. She wrote her first novel mainly in airport lounges and hotel rooms.

In the year 2011, she was writer in residence at the 1930s Art Deco Shoreham Airport in Sussex. “Laila Ahmed”, which was her non-fiction piece, won a New Writing Ventures Prize in the year 2008.

Despite all the traveling she has done, she loves the South Coast of England where she lives. She is drawn to stories, no matter what the genre is, that span the hyper-local, like her patch of the South Dawns, with the international.

Suzanne has been a writer in residence in a number of countries and loves nurturing conditions that her Irish grandma called ‘running away’ and her Welsh grandma referred to as ‘hiraeth’. This means that she enjoys traveling abroad til she’s homesick, coming back and feeling nostalgic for traveling, and writing about all of it.

Suzanne also has an increasing obsession with ink. The drawing, illustrating, making ink kind, and the developing a geeky pen collection (Rotring!) and building fountain pens of her own. Just not the tattoo kind, because she is much too afraid of all the pain that comes with it.

An essay called “I’ve Never Told Anyone This Before…” was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and a short story of hers, called “Theory of Flight” was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Suzanne’s debut novel, called “A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar”, was released in the year 2012. It was a Guardian/Observer Book of the Year 2012, a US National Bestseller, and was translated into sixteen languages. The novel was also longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary award in 2014.

She writes historical fiction.

“A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2012. The year is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and Lizzie, Eva’s sister, are missionaries that are going to the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Even though Lizzie is burning up with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not so noble, however with her green bike and a commission from a publisher to write “A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar”, she’s ready to have an adventure.

During the present tense in London, Frieda (a young woman) comes back from a long trip abroad to discover a man is sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a pillow and a blanket, and the next morning finds the bedding is neatly folded and there is an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, a bit of delicate Arabic writing, and a boat that is made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends her and, once she learns that she’s inherited the contents of the apartment that belongs to a dead woman that she has never heard of before, embark on an unexpected journey together.

This novel explores the fault lines which appear when traditions from different sections of an increasingly globalized world begin to crash into each other. The novel interweaves Frieda and Eva’s tales together and gradually reveals the connections they share and the ways that they both challenge and negotiate the restrictions of their own societies while making their hard-won way back home.

Readers found this novel to be beautifully written, haunting, and original. Suzanne’s writing is quite wonderful, as you journey with these characters and feel as they feel. She does a great job of pulling off a dual storyline, keeping modern day Frieda in contention with Eva. Her descriptions are beautiful, luxurious, and lavish and it is easy to feel yourself being transported to Kashgar.

“The Photographer’s Wife” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2016. The year is 1937. Prue is an artist that lives a reclusive life by the sea. She is visited by a British pilot, named William Harrington, that she knew as a child in Jerusalem. She remembers an attraction between him and Eleanora, a famous Jerusalem photographer’s wife, and the troubles which arose when he learned that Eleanora’s husband was part of some underground group that was intent on removing the British.

During his visit, William reveals the truth to Prue behind what happened all those years back. It is a truth that unravels her very world. Now she has to follow the threads which lead her on back to secrets that were buried long-ago in Jerusalem.

This novel is a powerful tale of betrayal. Between nations and people, between husband and wife, between daughter and father. And it is set in the complicated time period between the two world wars.

This is a compelling read that is populated with an extraordinary group of characters, and Prue’s own curiosity is transferred to the reader while the complexities of the plots reveal themselves. Suzanne never tries giving neat and tidy answers to any of the dilemmas her characters face, and instead, she leaves the reader in much the same state the characters were, with the same anxieties and worries. It adds to the book’s sense of place, of actually being there, each of us left to be a ‘little witness’ to the events that are unfolding.

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