Wonderful news on 1 March 2023: my memoir work from Learning to Survive, about Child Sexual Abuse and my subsequent healing, is a Highly Commended winner of the Bridport Memoir Awards 2022! Taboos around CSA certainly still exist, and there is very little memoir work published about ‘everyday’ or familial sexual abuse. Yet there are 11 million survivors of CSA in the UK alone, 90% of whom were abused by someone in or close to the family. I am grateful and heartened that the Bridport judges valued my story; this is an international, prestigious competition, open to all unpublished memoirists. The judges could have turned away, as so many in daily life do, choosing ‘not to think about it’. But they didn’t, and this makes all the difference. Thank you.

On 26 July 2022, I was interviewed by author Lucinda Hawksley for Goldster, on their Purpose, Passion, Grit series. I spoke about Child Sexual Abuse — my own, and in general — and delivered a reading from my memoir LEARNING TO SURVIVE. It was a tangibly engaged and intense audience, with several unexpected close family disclosures of sexual abuse. Ultimately, we must raise awareness, acknowledge CSA, and break through the accompanying silence and stigma. Doing nothing is tantamount to allowing abuse to continue. The Goldster link is here, and free to access. There is also a YouTube link of the interview:

On 6 November 2021, I was honoured to host an event for Poetry in Aldeburgh: Poetry and Trauma. Featuring poets Chaucer Cameron, Day Mattar, Tessa Foley, and Alice Hiller, it was a truly powerful and empowering event. The podcast is available HERE.

[image: Arjuna Gunarathne ]

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