25.04

The Day Of …

The London Marathon is done. The weather was brilliant. Perfect conditions, in fact. It should have gone swimmingly … Greenwich  There’s a buzz about Greenwich Park. Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now blasts from loudspeakers. People sit on the grass, tucking into their picnic breakfasts. I see someone’s bag stuffed with not one, but two – TWO – bunches of bananas. I […]

22.04

Run Forrest Run!

Quite possibly by the time you read this I will be running the London Marathon, or will have finished/collapsed/given up (delete as appropriate). A little whisper goaded me to do it, telling me I was past it and I would never ever be able to surpass the fitness I supposedly had Before Children (B.C.). I’ll show […]

07.04

NewnhamWrites … Living with Aphra, Mary & Jane

‘I’d find her rather prickly,’ says Janet Todd, OBE, academic and Newnham alumna (NC1961). The ‘her’ she refers to is Jane Austen, a novelist she has studied in-depth, along with Restoration author, Aphra Behn as well as one of the first advocates of women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft. Her work hasn’t stopped there. As President of Lucy Cavendish College, she founded […]

20.03

NewnhamWrites … Keeping a Straight Face

Ever considered writing a history of Stonehenge? Eminent historian, Rosemary Hill did. In fact, she’s the only woman to have written an entire history of the place and did so while keeping a straight face. At the age of nine she was bedridden with a bout of measles, and got hooked on a book about Elizabeth […]

10.03

NewnhamWrites … Coming of Age 2.0

‘What’s the point of me?’ asked Barbara Lorna Hudson (NC1958) shortly after retirement. She was single too and dived into the world of internet dating. What started out as a memoir on her not-so-quiet life, morphed into a fictional story of looking for love and friendship as a sixty-something woman. Timed Out is a second coming of age story, one that […]

30.01

Email to Dina Powell Senior Advisor to Trump

Here is an email I sent to Dina Powell, a partner at my old firm, Goldman Sachs, who recently joined the Trump Administration as Senior Advisor, focused on entrepreneurship, economic growth and the empowerment of women …  Dear Dina This email maybe too late as I believe you have officially started at the White House. […]

27.01

NewnhamWrites: A journey across four continents

Never a Dull Moment could be the tagline of blogger, Marina Marangos (NC1975). A chance meeting on a bus with an English girl triggered the idea of doing the Oxbridge entrance exam for fun (her words, not mine). Little did she know she’d arrive in freezing cold Cambridge, a place where she’d eventually meet her medic husband, Charles. […]

13.01

NewnhamWrites … Never ever underestimate a child

‘What a pity,’ Griselda Heppel (NC ) remarked to her husband one day, ‘that no one has ever created a children’s version of Dante’s Inferno.’ ‘You do it,’ came the reply. And so began Griselda’s writing career. Despite what the publishers said, Ante’s Inferno  set children’s imaginations on fire (pardon the pun), going onto win the Children’s People’s Book Prize in 2012/13 and a Silver Wishing […]

16.12

NewnhamWrites … Gossip Girl

Not in the least bit shy to voice her opinion, Celia Walden (NC1995) on life as a gossip columnist, babysitting footballer, George Best and marriage to a certain TV personality. And just why she didn’t warm to her childhood hero, David Attenborough. Celia Walden is an author, journalist and columnist for the Daily Telegraph who also […]

09.12

NewnhamWrites … Dr. Who?

New York Times bestselling novelist, Una McCormack (NC 1990) reveals who her favourite Dr. Who is, and why she would want to be stuck on a desert island with anyone … so long as he/she came from the USS Enterprise.  Una specialises in science fiction and TV tie-in novels based on series such as Star Trek and Doctor Who. She also writes audio drama, with […]

25.11

NewnhamWrites … Rosemary is for Remembrance

One of television’s finest period storytellers, 93-year-old Rosemary Anne Sisson, on World War II, Upstairs, Downstairs, and what she said to Downton Abbey’s creator, Julian Fellowes.  Rosemary Ann Sisson’s home is a place filled with memories, charting a life well lived through words and photographs, posters and paintings. She’s lived in this house on the New King’s Road, London […]

18.11

NewnhamWrites … Ghosts of Partition

The partition of India in 1947 was a seismic event that impacted the lives of millions. A year ago, I had had the honour to read a draft of Where the River Parts, by my friend, Radhika Swarup (NC1997). While there have been a plethora of books and films set against the backdrop of Partition, her story impacted me in a profound […]

11.11

NewnhamWrites … All you need is love

When the world has gone to pot, we all need a little love. Perhaps it’s serendipitous that we have acclaimed novelist, Claire King (NC 1990) talking about her latest book, Everything Love Is, her love of writing and never finding sufficient time to do it; and why she thinks Newnham found her and changed her life.  Claire King grew up in South Yorkshire, studied […]

04.11

NewnhamWrites … I absolutely hated writing my first novel

‘I absolutely hated writing my first novel.’ Acclaimed screenwriter and crime novelist, Isabelle Grey (NC 1973) on her journey from  journalism to screenwriting, to writing the gripping Detective Grace Fisher series. Finally, she can get to write about the things she’s most passionate about.  Isabelle Grey was born in London, educated at Manchester High School […]

27.10

NewnhamWrites … A novel form of speed dating

From speed dating, to painting her Newnham antique fireplace orange, Dr. Carol Cooper – (NC 1969) GP, Sun Columnist and hilarious novel writer, on her writing life.  Dr. Carol Cooper read Medicine at Newnham College, Cambridge. In addition to her work as a GP in London, she writes a health column for The Sun newspaper, teaches at Imperial College and is involved in […]

20.10

NewnhamWrites … Rules? There are no rules

Rules? There are no rules. Award-winning author and Newnhamite (NC 2000), Jenn Ashworth on her writing life, her time at Newnham and why she hated school. Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston, where she still lives. She studied at Newnham College, Cambridge and the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. Before […]

17.10

Something a little different: NewnhamWrites

I know, I know, I know – it’s been a while. There’s no excuse, except that time has slipped past me. It feels like yesterday that it was the height of summer, my lawn was parched and we were like deers caught in the headlights in the aftermath of Brexit. And then in the blink of […]

06.07

Brexit, Terrorism & Chilcot: An open letter to my kids

Dear L, M & A Recent events have left me sad and speechless. Now that I’ve started to digest what’s happened, there are a few things I wanted to share with you. I’m sure in time, more will be added to the list, but for now, here goes: #MAKESUREYOUVOTE One day you will be old enough to vote. […]

19.06

A little something for Father’s Day

To celebrate Fathers’ Day here are a few takeaways that my dad shared with me, that I would like to share with you. #AlwaysSmile Fed up with constantly seeing his youngest child grumpy and moody at the breakfast table, my dad threw his hands in the air and said, ‘Lady Amna, to offer a smile is […]

22.04

Much Ado About Nothing OR The Trial of 62 Words

2016 seems to be the year when icons become stars in the sky. From David Bowie, to Alan Rickman; from Victoria Wood to Prince. Celebrated artists with unimaginable talent. Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls will always remind me of my teenage years, listening to that album on a constant loop with my oldest friend. We were sheltered kids living […]

18.03

What makes you write? Interview with Amy Reade

I’m excited to have USA Today bestselling author, Amy Reade, take part in my second author Q&A. Amy has written two novels: Secrets of Hallstead House and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. Her third, House of the Hanging Jade is out on 26th April. I’m always fascinated by people’s motivation to write. What inspires them? What makes them tick? So I asked Amy […]

12.02

Vienna: a city carried forever in your soul

It’s September, 2013. Child Number Two arrived four months ago. I’m back at my desk, which we’ve now moved to our bedroom. I switch on my computer and open up a file marked, The Silenced Children. I’ve already read the draft I rattled out within six months, desperate to get it out before Child Number […]

30.12

Blame it on El Niño …

The should-I-shouldn’t-I-write-an-end-of-year-blog-post has been waging war in my head. Since there’s no snow in the Alps, and, since I’ve been shovelling down Austrian cakes like no tomorrow, I figured I should use some unused energy and write something. Apologies. Just blame this post on El Niño. #HereWeGoAgain The first day of the New Year always […]

28.11

Drum roll please … The Silent Children is out

Vienna, 1938: something’s amiss at the home of young Annabel Albrecht and it’s got nothing to do with the Nazis. First, her favourite maid Eva disappears, then her friend Oskar. Worse is to come – her brother is murdered and her mother is taken away, leaving Annabel to fend for herself. Almost 70 years later, […]

13.10

The art of doing nothing

Pre-eclampsia sucks. It sucks even more, if, as in my case, pre-eclampsia creeps up on you, unwittingly, ten days after giving birth. As a result, I was stuck in hospital for two nights. But at least my impromptu stay probably saved my Better Half from coming home to find me collapsed in a heap on the floor. So I owe a big thank you […]

27.09

The AKB School of Life

  Inspired by the recent arrival of my third daughter, here is my take on Life. What follows is a list that perhaps, I will share with my now three girls when they turn into parent-hating teenagers. No doubt, there are stages I’ve missed, stages I’ve grossly mis-categorised, or stages I’ve generalised. So, be warned: the following […]

28.08

Farewell London – The Sequel (Or, Life in the Boonies)

Four weeks ago we moved from London to the ‘burbs. While it’s a far cry from London, it’s All Good. There are, however, a few things which we’re getting used to … 1. #CunningFox In London we had vermin: pigeons, mice, the odd kitten-sized rat scuttling across the footpath and, our resident ASBO seagulls. On occasional evenings, […]

farewell london amna boheim
09.08

Farewell London

We’ve done it. Moved, that is, from our beloved London to …the ‘burbs. My relationship with the city I’ve called home is like the one I have with my children: there are times (many) when it drives me nuts, but I’ll still love the place dearly and I refuse to hear a bad word said against […]

09.07

Help! Memory: Gone Missing

Life has an annoying tendency to pass by in a whirlwind. Mornings skip along, afternoons canter and the nights pass away in a fog of knackeredness that before I know it the week has disappeared. Hours are eaten up by kids’ stuff, meetings, appointments, calls and dealing with lawyers and their lengthy emails relating to our building project and forthcoming move to the […]

15.06

Ghosts of Partition

I’ve had the privilege of reading the debut novel by my writer friend, Radhika Swarup. Due to come out in February 2016, Where the River Parts tells the tale of a Hindu girl, Asha, who, during Partition in 1947, flees her home in Punjab. She also leaves behind the boy she loves – a Muslim. A beautiful story of unrequited love and survival, […]

14.05

The Hand of Fate

    Hands up, those who believe in fate.   Is our destiny pre-determined from the moment we’re placed into the womb, cells furiously multiplying to form an embryo, a foetus, a baby? Or our are lives made up of a series of coincidences and circumstance that are far from mapped out? As I get […]

15.04

Sixth Sense

I’m not talking about the movie with the boy who sees dead people …All. The. Time. And I’m not talking about a mother’s sixth sense as quite frankly, I’m certain it’s an excuse pounced upon by our own mothers when they claim they: (a) Just know it was you who was calling (as my own mum pronounces.) (b) Know you’re in trouble. Let’s […]

26.03

The ASBO gull

One of the scariest films I’ve ever seen is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I was ten years old when I watched it with my childhood friend, M. Such was the psychological terror inflicted upon me by that movie, that after it ended, I had to get M’s dad to drive me home even though I only lived around the corner. It took me a […]

19.03

7 things you didn’t know about my writing …

Okey dokey. The wonderful and smart Carol Cooper​ – doctor, mother, cat-lover and author of One Night at the Jacaranda as well as numerous best-selling parenting books has kindly(?) nominated me to tell you seven things you might not know about my writing. This is tricky because (a) I’m not published (yet) and (b) today my […]

03.03

The terror of TED(x)

I’ve been invited to do a TEDx* talk to a hundred of North London’s brightest sixth formers at Highgate School. Honestly, I’m peeing my pants. More to the point: I haven’t spoken to an audience this big for … God, I can’t remember. Secondly: teenagers! I remember (just) when I was one – full of expectation with […]

04.02

Shrieks in the Night

“I’ve lost Dolly!” my three-year-old daughter moaned the other night,  a moan that wouldn’t stop until I went into her room to seek out her beloved Dolly the Sheep. An hour or so later, our 20-month-old daughter yelled out in her sleep. Her cry was more of the Captain Caveman variety and was so loud that I swore she could’ve woken […]

30.12

Sophie Bridge’s New Year’s Tale

Inspired by a Christmas decoration, here is a short story for the child inside of you. Call it a little New Year’s gift as a thank you for your encouragement and support. Wishing you all the best for the New Year! Amna   When Sophie first witnessed the small elf spring to life, little did […]

07.12

Papa, I dreamt I saw a sheep!

“Papa, I dreamt I saw a sheep!” my three year old daughter said the other morning. In all honesty it isn’t surprising she dreams of the woolly four legged animal. She’s obsessed. The root lies with her cuddly sheep, Dolly (aka Gukky, as she once was known). My daughter has a pathological love for the poor ragged toy, a love that I touched upon in an […]

17.11

The little toys with a mind of their own…

What is it about children’s toys and their association with weird events? In The Poltergeist Hiding in Gordon House I touched on the fact that a few of my daughters’ electric playthings had a tendency to spring to life of their own accord. Since that post, nothing notable has happened. It’s like my blog put a stop to their […]

30.10

Mama, there’s a monster under my bed…

My Better Half has been trying to persuade me to see The Babadook. For those of you not in the know, The Babadook is an Australian film about a single mother who, in the aftermath of her husband’s violent death, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house. Soon, she also senses a sinister presence and starts thinking her son may […]

12.10

The poltergeist hiding in Gordon House

For the last three and a half years, we have been blighted by a lift on the blink. Given we live on the fifth floor, a temperamental lift has become a bit of a problem as we’ve morphed from pre-kids to two kids with the paraphernalia that come with them. The problem with the lift is not that it just decides […]

23.09

The case of the phantom cars on the B1249

Every four to six weeks my two girls and I travel up north to visit my parents in Scarborough, a seaside town located 250 miles or so from London. No matter what time of day I set off, I’m blighted by one or more of the following: traffic jams, speed restrictions, a puking child, or a […]

07.09

A scene straight out of a Hitchcock thriller…

And so it was with a heavy heart we returned to London, the 24-7 rumble of traffic, the sirens, the clatter of building work, builders’ hollers, builders’ whistles and people racing through the streets, po-faced with a hint of self-importance that comes with living in the capital. We squeezed back into our tiny lift, tumbled into our […]

12.08

The case of the accident, the wolf & good old instinct

I’m sitting in the car on the driveway of our house in the Austrian Alps, speaking on the phone to my Better Half who’s 6,000 miles away. The news isn’t good. In fact it’s getting worse. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that bad, but at this moment, I feel quite sick. (For the record, he isn’t […]

18.07

Chaotic comedy of a crowded house, to sinister tricks inside a London enclave

The heat has sent everyone a little loco. My sanity has been all over the place following a mad-cap five days with my parents. Don’t get me wrong: it was a lovely five days, spending time with most of my family, including QT with my niece and nephews and watching my two girls getting to know […]

01.07

Tales from The Pale Mountains

My summary of the past fortnight goes something like this: World Cup, World Cup, World Cup. Biting. More World Cup. England’s woes turned into hopes resting on a Scotsman’s shoulders, only to be destroyed by a Bulgarian called Grigor Dimitrov… Notwithstanding all this drama, the Boheim Family had a good week during which we chose to celebrate the birthdays of my older […]

16.06

Knock knock… Who’s there?

There’s no escaping: Football, the World Cup. England won’t win. England will win (if a pig flies past my window). 15mn viewers tuned in to see them lose against Italy, including my older daughter’s (second favourite and not as well loved) sheep, Lucy. Here she is after that goal from Italy: Football brings out the weird and […]

02.06

Whisperings & a place called Fischer’s…

I’ve had a rough couple of nights. First, my older daughter decided to scream out for her socks in the middle of the night. Second, my one year old decided to wake up at 4.30am. My better half found my younger daughter and I passed out on the bed in her room. I’m grateful he didn’t […]

21.05

Writing process blog tour

I’ve been nominated by my fellow Faber Academy classmate, Kristen Arcadio. Kristen is in the process of penning a trilogy. The first of the series, Borderliners, was published in February this year. The second, Split Symmetry, is out very soon and the Third, WorldCult, is planned for December. She does this on top of being […]

18.05

Conchita and that thing called love

For me it’s been a week of excitement. In my half-Austrian household Conchita Wurst’s Eurovision win was akin to Austria winning the World Cup. With equal fervour my better half demands we book tickets for Vienna and my near three year old daughter maintains that Conchita is a man because, “he has a beard, Mama.” The excitement continued in […]

05.05

Djinn Mamu… & Other Strange Stories

For me, ghosts, the supernatural, unexplained events – whatever you want to call them – have had an enduring appeal. There are moments that I or others have experienced which are unusual, scary or quite comical. Like the time my oldest friend thought she witnessed my Cabbage Patch Kid, Maxine, playing the flute during a […]