New author Jane Blank should be an expert on the clash of cultures. She was born and bred in England but has moved back to her family roots in Wales and learnt the Welsh language. She's also teaching at a Welsh language secondary school near the English border, and will publish her first English novel, The Geometry of Love on the 17th of May. A novel which deals with clashes of culture in pre-9/11 Britain.
As well as dealing with the anxiety of being a Welsh outsider in Sheffield in the 1980s, The Geometry of Love also deals with the fascination the West has with eastern culture and the Muslim religion. The influence a Muslim friend has on two young girls in their quest for the good things in life is revealing and is based on some true experiences.
Jane Blank said: “When a child I was described as the 'English cousin' by some relatives, although both my parents were Welsh. My father couldn't speak Welsh, but my mother did, but she was advised by 'experts' not to speak Welsh to her daughter. But I was given a strong Welsh identity, and I then made a pledge as a child to learn Welsh. I also came across eastern culture during my time in Sheffield, and some of the events in the novel are based on a friend's experiences in that period.”
Jane is now a fluent Welsh speaker, and makes sure her son's mother-tongue will be Welsh. She also teaches English and drama at a Welsh language secondary School.
Jane's work has won prizes and awards and been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies including Planet, New Welsh Review, Poetry Wales, Poetry Quarterly Review, The Western Mail, Big Issue, Observer Magazine and The Independent.
In 2003 she launched her first collection of poetry, Naked Playing the Cello with The Collective Press in Berlin. More recent publication includes autobiography for Honno press' award winning anthology Laughing Not Laughing. The Geometry of Love is her first novel, described by Norman Shcwenk as the “funniest, sexiest novel I've read in a long time”.