A Blonde Bengali Wife

A Blonde Bengali Wife
Travels in Bangladesh

We've Nearly Made It

Hello and Welcome!



Where you will learn everything you
need to know about the progress of A Blonde Bengali Wife, the travel
book I've written about my love-affair with the fabulous country of

It's a blog about Bangladesh, about Bhola, and about fiction
and creative writing in general...

A Blonde Bengali Wife:

First published in September 2010 and launched in October 2010.

Reprinted and re-launched in November 2015 as an eBook available from Amazon UK/.com

#1 Amazon Bestseller

Follow it on Twitter @AnneHamilton7 and @Anne_ABBW and Goodreads

Buy it here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blonde-Bengali-Wife-Anne-Hamilton-ebook/dp/B016UDI86I

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Stars of the Story

One of the highlights for me of the Bangladesh trip was meeting again with Hasina and Mr Hoque.  These, some of you might remember, are the lovely, lovely family who adopted me (or rather I adopted them!) and without whom I don't think I would ever have developed such a permenant relationship with the country.

This time, with some trepidation, I handed them a copy of A Blonde Bengali Wife, and said I hoped we would still be friends once they had read it!  By default, Hasina and Mr Hoque - his name is Nozmul but he'll always be Mr Hoque to me!) have starring roles in the book, and whilst I dearly love them and I hope I always wrote with affection, there is no getting away from the fact that they are real characters - in every sense of the word!

Well, here's waiting on their reviews...

Oh, and on a personal note, Simon dealt with the whole trip magnificently: the heat, the food, the travel, the crowds of people - nothing fazed him and he seemed to love it all, especially the joys of having 40-odd older brothers and sisters for a few weeks.  In fact, Dinah (friend, literary agent and travel companion) are already wondering if and when a repeat visit is possible!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Greetings from Bangladesh

We left Dhaka to travel to Bhola via the MAAF seaplane - a real treat compared to the overnight river launch - and were greeted by a boat full of Bhola's Children:

All of the children were well and happy and soon had us involved in lessons and then a daily music session:

We had picnics on the land in Valumia - here's everyone:

And the it was Eid, and Ali in his traditional outfit cooked sweets for everyone:

... before we all went for a trip to the local children's park:

More news next time....

Anne x

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Off to Bhola

We have our visas, our tickets and a lot of nappies - so we're off to Bhola! 

Technology is notoriously poor over there so the news will wait til our return.

Cross fingers for a safe and baby-friendly trip!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Finalist in EPIC Award

It's great news that ABBW is one of three finalists in the non-fiction category of the 2012 EPICeBook awards.  Thanks to LL-Publications for putting it forward.

Watch this space - though don't hold your breath!  I can't say I've ever won anything before, even a goldfish at the fair (which is probably a good thing now, it being politically incorrect to dip the poor things into plastic bags etc etc) but it's nice to see the book up there!

Monday, 15 August 2011


So, this time last year I was planning the baby and the book launch.  What a difference a few months makes...

Simon's American birthday party is being held today in Virginia (at 40 degrees C!) with lots of love from all friends and family xxx

(And yes, I've even got a tiny bit more of the novel written in the last couple of weeks...)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A Day in the Life...

Life for the children in Bhola is different to what we see in the UK - that goes without saying - but the intention is always to balance work and play.  On days off from lessons and, for the older students, training in the sewing and carpentry rooms, the children all help with cooking, cleaning, building, and laundry.  And they are often tasks we as adults would find challenging (not to mention worries about safety) but the day will end with a picnic or a trip to the river, sweets or a much-loved Hindi film:

Help with construction...

Then there is the gardening and work in the fields...

But always time to play...

And as the sun sets over the river...

... to take a well earned rest


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Writers Block

A sleeping baby, a fully charged computer, a blank page just waiting for my thoughts and a bar of sustaining chocolate to hand  Time To Write...

... and I can't think of a thing to say.

Real life has overtaken me somewhat.  In just over a month, Simon will be one year old (how on earth did that happen???) and we're off shortly to Washington DC to celebrate with the American/Nicaraguan branch of his family.  Meanwhile, the bills are more or less paid by online tutoring and one-to-one mentoring of creative writing students.  This is something I love doing and it's never a second best to my own writing, but it is a huge (and legitimate, as opposed to cleaning, eating and watching TV) distraction.  The first draft of my novel, part of my ongoing PhD, is due at the end of the summer and let's just say I'm a few words off the 80,000 word total...

ABBW has gone quiet for the time being.  I'm shamefully aware that I should be out there marketing it with vigour and confidence, but somehow looking and sounding professional is not so easy with a grinning, babbling baby in tow (he takes centre stage every time) and food stains (mostly his rather than mine.  I think) down my front.

How did JK Rowling DO it???

Thursday, 16 June 2011

EPIC eBook Awards

Just got word from the publisher that A Blonde Bengali Wife is being entered for the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards.  It will be in the non-fiction category and the winners are announced next March.

A nice surprise!

You can read more about EPIC here:

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Suse Coon @ Lothian Life

A very nice review from a very nice magazine - well worth a look on both counts!!  Suse Coon has a whole host of great book reviews too.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Through the Shop Window

Product placement is an interesting concept.  I've often said (joking, I think) that I should hand out copies of ABBW to friends and family and ask them to read the book ostentatiously in very public places - trains, planes and buses and proclaim what a great read it is!  A friend (who will remain anonymous because she is already totally incorrigible and needs no encouragement... you know who you are...) did precisely this at the local British Heart Foundation shop.  Went in, brandished the book at unsuspecting volunteer, waxed lyrical about signed copy of book by local writer, and managed to get it in the window wedged between Kenny Dalgliesh's biography and The Boys Book of Military Aircraft.  Something for everyone in there!

I walked past it for several days wondering how long it would be before I cracked and went in with my £2 and bought it just in case nobody else did.  Then - it disappeared.  Hopefully to a customer and not as a doorstop into the back office of the shop.

Only one niggle: had said friend even read the book AND what was she doing giving away a signed copy...!!!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Pictures from Bhola

With Bhola on my mind - tickets for a November trip finally purchased - here are a random selection of photos from Bhola's Garden...

One of the first storms of the season has brought down a tree onto the roof of one of the old school buildings - luckily no harm done and the wood will be used for fuel for cooking

The vegetable garden in Valumia continues to thrive, helping Chola's Children become more self-sufficient by the day!

And Dinah, receiving gifts of embroidery all made by the girls in their sewing classes: pillow cases, cushion covers, napkins and bedspreads.  She'll bring them back to the UK and sell them to boost the funds of the charity

Monday, 25 April 2011

Touching a Chord?

Is there anything more thrilling for a writer than receiving a totally unsolicited email from someone who has enjoyed your book and taken the time to write and say so?  I suppose one of my niggling worries about ABBW was how a Bangladeshi reader might view it: patronising? making light of serious issues? totally alien?  I was hoping for the opposite reactions when I wrote it, and I'm delighted that Shishu, a Bangladeshi man who came across the e-book by accident, definitely found something that struck a chord...

“Being born to Bangladeshi parents but only having spent the early part of my life in Bangladesh, I am as much of foreigner as you ever were. Your style of writing brought out every experience I have ever had in Bangladesh. Thank you for helping me relive those memories. Through your writings, I feel like I know you, a long-lost sister if you like. I never imagined a travel diary would have this sort of impact. Not often does an author succeed in drawing me this close.”

Thank you, Shishu!  You, and all the other readers who have commented on ABBW have made my day.  It will be interesting to hear what the real life Bangladeshis who 'star' in the book will ahve to say about it...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Move Over Michael Parkinson!

If you haven't already seen my friend and fellow writer, Michael Malone's, exemplary blog (if he wasn't such a nice guy I'd hate him for being so darn good at this) 'MAY CONTAIN NUTS' then now is the perfect time to follow the link and read his interview with me in which I tell all; yes, beans spilt, cats out of endless bags...*


*Perhaps I exaggerate slightly.  Oh, how I wish there were an All to tell.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Guilty As Charged...

Is there anything more irritating in the blog/website/electronic world, than hitting on a site that looks vaguely interesting only to find it was last updated a good couple of months (or years) ago?  Hands up!  I've fallen into the trap and I'm guilty of exactly that; apologies to anyone who is trying to follow me - please don't give up, I'll try harder...

The first royalties cheque is in for A Blonde Bengali Wife.  It's not going to change the world in Bhola but it will cover a few more meals.  Work over there is going on at a fast pace, the construction of the new workshop especially.  Today is Bangladesh's Independence Day and the children all took their places marching for the District Commissioner and the Chief of Police.  I'll look out some photographs for the next entry...

Most exciting is that Dinah and I have set the dates for our next visit and come November we'll be introducing Simon to his extended Bangladeshi family!  It can't come too soon, impossible to believe that my last trip was in January 2010 - poor Ali, I was so sick (actually early pregnancy) he was beside himself so I can't wait to get back and show him why it was all so worth while!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bhola 2011 and beyond...

Returned from another Trustees Meeting in respect of Bhola's Children.  It's always a delight to catch up with everyone - and this time to introduce Simon to them.  It seems that despite the occupational hazards of living in the Bay of Bengal (monsoon, cyclone, flooding), the home is going from strength to strength.  Ali and the children remain self-sufficient in terms of vegetables and fish, and the plans for a purpose built workshop instead of the haphazard lean-to, are well in hand - funds permitting.  This will allow a more comprehensive training for carpentry and tailoring for the older young people, thus giving them a better chance of making their own independent living when they leave Bhola Garden.  Dinah is off this week for her visit and I think we have plans to take Simon next October... it really will be his second home.

Speaking of Simon - a milestone for him in that he ate his first non-milk food today!  Or rather he smeared a pin-prick of banana everywhere in sight; banana carnage doesn't cover it.  'Outraged astonishment' is the best way to describe the first taste but since he's still licking his fingers hours on, I'd say it was a success.  If only sleeping came as easy... don't worry, says Julianne, our lovely Health Visitor, it'll come....  She went away with a copy of A Blonde Bengali Wife.  I'm not sure of the etiquette of blogging your own book to professionals just trying to do a job, but her donation was much appreciated!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

January Blues

It's as if I'm 10 years old again and have been asked to write a diary in school; by day four the scintillating content reduced to 'got up, did nothing, ate dinner, went to bed...' So there's not a great deal to report on the book front and whilst I should be creative enough to think of some witty, writerly anecdotes, I'm not.  I'm too busy singing Incy-wincy spider at a hundred decibels in a vain attempt to distract Simon from noticing I'm trying to get him dressed.  (He's a naturist in the making, doesn't believe in clothes).  Or I'm displaying my nipples in more places than the average glamour model in order to feed him.  It's all more than worth it of course, it just means I get to the end of the day wondering why I didn't do anything about the publicity, marketing, interest etc in A Blonde Bengali Wife, or indeed, continue writing the next work-in-progress...

Zetta, the publisher, tells me she's entered the book for two awards, the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction and the Dolman Travel Award, so that's something.

Meanwhile, I'm off to learn some more nursey rhymes.  And I'll be inspired tomorrow, surely!

Friday, 14 January 2011

What people are saying...

And these are reviews from people I don't even know - thank you!

Dearbhaile said on Facebook:

'Just wanted to say that I loved, loved, loved 'a blonde Bengali wife!!!" It's been a while since I got into a book like that and couldn't put it down. Haven't laughed so much in ages. As they say: I maximum enjoyed!'

Juliet in an email to the friend who sent her the copy said:

'...how much I'm enjoying this book. Anne Hamilton has a wonderfully amusing way of writing and "turn of
phrase" describing some of the almost ludicrous situations she, and Christine, find themselves in! Thank you so much'

And Moira, also via an email:

'Thanks for letting me know about this book of Anne Hamilton’s.  I don’t think I know Anne but her book is marvellous.  Having bought a copy for myself I will also buy it for any other friend who has travelled off the beaten track.  Anne captures the experience wonderfully – the ‘miscomprehensions’ (her lovely and precise phrase), the funny bits, the astonishing bits, the hassle, the cultural connections – all of it in such a well-written and funny way.'

It's strange to think of the book being read somewhere out there, but I'm delighted that it is, and to hear what (good and bad) people think.  I might write another, or rather finish the one I began once in another pre-Simon lifetime!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

New Year, New Start?

A very happy, if belated, new year to you all!

I'm not sure how we can be thirteen days into January and this is my first posting for a month.  So much for that new year, new start philosophy in which I intended to get ahead in all things writing/work/study... Still, a wonderful Christmas with Simon and yes, he did wear a little Santa suit despite my protestations about dressing babies up.  It's all Julie's fault for seeing it in the charity shop window, and it was just the right size, and, and, and, excuses galore... but: cute or what????

And the stocking is All My Own Work, yes I know, I should stick to writing.  But I'm proud of it.  Oh dear, doting mother moment!

It seems that quite a lot of people gave or got A Blonde Bengali Wife for Christmas; sales from Alaska to Nicaragua, from the south of England to the north of Scotland.  Not all of them will become doorstops or fly-flatteners, surely!