Illustrated by Jemma Foster
After freelancing as a journalist in London for thelondonpaper, The Observer and Time Out, Jemma moved across the globe to focus her attention on writing fiction. Living in Buenos Aires she collaborated with American director Alexander Berberich, penning the scripts for a series of feature films, before going on to write short stories and poems.
Inspired by the recycled cardboard books made by the Eloisa Cartonera group, the author put together a definitive collection of short stories. The theme of the human senses not only binds the tales together as a body of work but also acts as an umbrella over the ideas and philosophical concepts that have niggled, fascinated and haunted her for some time. The first six of the set explore the traditional, physical senses of touch, taste, smell, sound, sight and the ‘sixth’, while the second group take on the more obscure, mental senses of love, hate, dream, memory, intelligence and insanity.
Often disguised as the bizarre and fantastical, the stories, laced with South American influences, also offer a darker commentary on the curiosities of the human psyche. The names of the characters themselves were taken from the gravestones of those long dead and perhaps forgotten, gathered along her travels from Argentina to Colombia, so that they may live on in a story and be a part of something once again.
Now living on a narrowboat in London, Jemma is currently working with the Unlimited Dream Company and director Rachel Seely to create original cinema and is in the midst of writing her first novel Clockwork Universe. In addition, she aims to set up Storytelling Grandmothers in the UK which will be partly funded by The Cigarette Box Project, a collaboration between artists and writers to transform old cigarette boxes into creations that will fill a vintage cigarette machine. For one night only, these will become part of an exhibition and vended in aid of the charity and in support of the National Campaign for the Arts.