“I loved being immersed in these other worlds that took me away from the everyday world in which I was constrained and powerless and could see no possibility of change. I woke, ate and slept with those stories, lost in daydream, to the irritation of my ayah, my parents and, later, my teachers.”
Umi Sinha is a British-Indian novelist and lecturer in creative writing. Her recent writing has focused on identity and belonging.
Us and them: the advantages of being both
My father was always busy and barely spoke to us – and never in Hindi. He felt that ‘children were the mother’s province’, so we were brought up without even the basics of Indian culture.
Does the writer have a responsibility?
In fairy tales, the characters who return with the treasure are often the least heroic and most undervalued…who interrupt their personal quest for fortune to respond to the needs of those around them.
Why do I write?
Books saved my life and made me who I am.
Umi Sinha is the author of the novel Belonging. Born in India, she spent her first ten years at the naval engineering base in the Western Ghats, where her father was stationed. She moved to Britain with her mother and siblings at the age of fifteen. Her British born mother, was a writer and an artist. Her father was one of the first Indians to be accepted as an officer in the Royal Indian Navy and served on the Arctic Convoys in the Second World War.
Umi Sinha’s short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies. She has worked as a Lecturer in Creative Writing on the MA at Brighton University and currently teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at New Writing South. She also runs her own courses and workshops at her Writing Clinic. In 2006 Sinha and a group of other storytellers founded The Guesthouse Storytellers, an oral storytelling club based in Newhaven, East Sussex.