Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday 16th June 2014 - The day that forced marriage is made illegal in the United Kingdom

Today it has been announced that Forced Marriages are illegal in the United Kingdom. What can I say but HURRAY!

It is the main theme of my new novel The Last Year of Childhood, which is set in 1917, Trinidad. The subject of forced marriage follows us from year to year, from continent to continent, from country to country, and from culture to culture. We hear snippets, but we distance ourselves from it, making it easier to accept that it goes on, and it affects every young person, girl, woman, who has to live a life in a forced marriage.

Forced Marriage ends childhood. It is not the only thing that can end childhood, but that doesn't alter the fact that it does. The Last Year of Childhood is fiction that is based on the facts of a time when this actually happened in Trinidad. If it happens in Trinidad today, it must be very, very rare indeed, as Trinidad has advanced well away from that practice.

The Last Year of Childhood is about two young girls, Latchmin, aged 12, and Sumati, aged 14, who try in their own way to escape arranged marriage (which becomes forced marriage when it is done against the will of at least one of the persons being married.) Both girls take different routes even though they are best friends, and encounter many hurdles to cross.

Do they succeed?