Author Archives: Uuganaa

Mongol – Interviews & Documentary

I got back from Mongolia a couple of weeks ago after spending a wonderful time with my parents and recording a documentary for BBC Radio 4 (to air 8pm GMT, 24th November) and BBC World Service (January 2015).

After I came back the Herald newspaper interviewed me for a feature “I realised what it was like to be a Mongol“.

 Here is Star TV‘s “Talk with me” (in English with Monglian subtitles):

Mongol TV (in Mongolian):

Let me know what you think.

Book talks, book worms and booking me for talks

Boswell1

In Conversation with Clara Weatherall

It was a pleasure and a fantastic experience to be at the Boswell Book Festival this year. The rain drops in the marquee reminded me of gers and the beautiful scenery around Ayrshire was just breath-taking. The event was very well organised and I was interviewed by Clara Weatherall.

 

 

Another talk I did was at Weegie Wednesday in Glasgow. I met my

Bookworms

Bookworms at Boswell Book Festival

publisher Sara Hunt there a couple of years ago and I was pleased to be a guest speaker at this welcome and friendly gathering. It was incredible to meet some interesting people there too. Other authors, song writers, journalists, publishers and agents … everyone is interesting.

 

Mongolian Woman of the Year Award in London. It was a glamorous do and I enjoyed speaking Mongolian and listening to Mongolian songs one evening. It was good to be back presenting one of the awards this year and managed to fit in an interview for a Mongolian documentary too. I slept for 12 hours when I got back.

Now I’m registered with The Scottish Book Trust Live Literature Funding.  What it means is  organisations or groups can book me for talks and workshops in Scotland with the SBT support. Support is available to individuals and not-for profit organisations to host events or projects with authors. These include:

  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Community groups
  • Arts organisations
  • Local festivals
  • Writers/Readers Groups
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Organisations that work with adults and/or children with disabilities

BestsellerAnother great news is MONGOL became a BESTSELLER in 3 categories on Amazon UK!  I’m very pleased. Someone is watching in the sky…

 

BBC Radio Scotland to Waterstone’s in Kensington

After my Scottish Asian Women’s award, I was on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme talking about my memoir Mongol and the campaign against the misuse of the term mongol. Since then it has been crazy with many events one after another. My Edinburgh and London launch events went very well with many people. There were some interests from different press in Mongolia and Britain. I’ll put up a video that was done by a Mongolian journalist Khulan (www.khulanj.com) here for you to get the feel of the event in Waterstone’s in Kensington, London.

I spoke to the Sunday Mail as they join forces with the Scottish Book Trust to launch Scotland’s Stories of Home – encouraging Scots to tell people their real-life tales. I first started putting my story down on paper as part of a Scottish Book Trust project Family Legends encouraging new writers. Sunday MailI believe that Scotland’s Stories of Home project is an another great platform for people who want to start writing or share that inner story which has to be told and read by many. So what are you waiting for?

3 facts about Down syndrome

World Down’s Syndrome Day on 21 March

I’d like to share 3 facts, only 3 facts for people to remember about Down’s syndrome:

1. Down’s syndrome happens because of the extra chromosome 21. (3 instead of 2)

2. Down’s syndrome is named after British Dr John Langdon Down.

3. Down’s syndrome is NOT related to Mongol ethnicity.

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After we lost Billy I used to speak on 3TFM’s Careers Show. One day this little girl Emma was in the studio co-hosting the programme with Eddy, the presenter of the show.

 

 

Scottish Asian Women’s Award For Achievement

Scottish Asian Women’s Awards

The Scottish Asian Women’s Awards, organised by the Scottish Asian Women’s ­Association, was held at Hampden Park on 13th March, with First Minister Alex Salmond among the guests.

I’m delighted that I won the Award For Achievement Against All Odds presented by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland. This award recognises the achievements of a Scottish Asian woman in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances – a true modern day heroine.

I was emotional getting the award as it reminded me of why I started campaigning and writing. Here is a video clip that captured the moment.

 

Awards, Rewards and Reviews

It has been mad few weeks but very exciting too. I’d been nominated for a Scottish Asian Women’s Award and had an interview with Ms Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, and Mr Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. I won’t know the result until 13th March. It’s a great recognision just to be shortlisted. I’ll let you know how I got on next week.

I’ve had many interviews in the past few months and I don’t think I had the chance to put the links here. I chose two interviews for this post. They are:

A Life Redefined – UB Post
Excellent questions including:

-Your book takes on some sensitive issues in Mongolian culture and Western culture. Did the politics of “Mongol” drive your writing or did it arise from the process of storytelling?

-Loss of loved ones is dealt with very differently in Mongolia than it is in other parts of the world. Can you share a bit about how you faced – and continue to face – that process?

Author interview with Trisha Nicholson

I connected with Trisha @TrishaNicholson a couple of years ago through Twitter. Trisha lived in Scotland for many years and now she lives in New Zealand. Trisha spent some time in Mongolia in 1995. Her questions brought out really detailed answers that I even had to think and check before I answered them. They included:

– You have two twitter accounts, one in English and one in Mongolian, in what other ways do you live in both cultures?

– It’s 17 years since I was in Ulaanbaatar, taxis did not exist then, you simply flagged down a passing car and if the driver was willing, he took you where you wanted to go. There was a generally agreed rate for his petrol. I expect that is different now?

– How aware are people in Mongolia that their name is still misused here?

Last but not least, I came across this review of MONGOL by Bookslut.com.

There are over 30 reviews already on Amazon, Waterstone’s and Goodreads and they are all 5 stars which I’m very pleased about. Then this Bookslut one made me look at MONGOL differently. It analyzed the book, critisized and praised it. So I’ll let you read it yourself here. 2013-06-08 08.42.12

Don’t forget to check the Events page to see where I’m appearing. It’s always lovely to see friendly faces and hear from you too.

Ayr Launch

The Ayr Waterstones launch of Mongol was a great success again this week. Many thanks to all who attended.

Book Launch 2014 Ayr 033

Uuganaa talked about why she wrote ‘Mongol’

Book Launch 2014 Ayr 009

Uuganaa thanked Ayr Writers’ club and the Scottish Association of Writers (SAW). ‘Mongol’ won Janetta Bowie Chalice from SAW Conference in 2012.

Book Launch 2014 Ayr 044

Signing books

 

with ann

Uuganaa with Ann Burnett

2014 – An Exciting Year

Happy New Year!

Aav

My dad arrived from Mongolia ten days ago to celebrate Christmas, New Year and my first book launch event in Glasgow. It’s lovely to have my dad with us. He is very proud of me holding my memoir in his hands and flicking through the pages spotting the occasional Mongolian words and sentences. I made sure I wrote the dedication to my parents in Mongolian.

 

Төрсөн биеийг минь заясан
Төөрөх бүрт минь зассан
Хайраараа угжсан ижийдээ
Харцаараа бүүвэйлсэн аавдаа энэхүү номоо өргөн барья.

The meaning is something like this:

I dedicate this book to
My mum who fed me with her love
My dad who sang lullabies in his eyes
The ones who gifted me my presence
The ones who led my way when I was lost

‘Mummy, milky!’ our two year old demands and follows me like a shadow to the kitchen. ‘Let’s play football!’ our 8 year old kicks a ball in the hall. Their big sister, the teenager hardly shows herself studying for her exams. Fortunately, my husband is on holiday for a few days to take the ‘big’ boy out to play and burn off that boiling energy. My dad observes. ‘You did well, writing your book with your busy family life.’  That comment felt good.

On Monday, I was interviewed by Spain’s English speaking radio Talk Radio Europe. After a bit of a problem with our phone connections we managed to do the interview. The presenter Dave Hodgson was a lovely guy, very easy to talk to. I’m hoping to do more interviews for radio, TV, newspapers and magazines this new year. We made a book trailer recently for ‘Mongol’ too. As my Weegie Wednesday friend Moira McPartin said in her email 2014 will be massive for me. The big year kicks off with the book launch event in Glasgow on 16th January in Waterstones, Argyle Street. We are very excited about 2014 and I hope you too have a happy 2014. Please keep checking the events page and come and say hello if I’m coming to anywhere near your town.

Happy 2014!

 

 

 

Campaign Mongol

For their Human Rights Day activities this year, organisers and individuals are choosing to include one or more of the human rights achievements of the past two decades. So I thought I’d share what my journey has been like by choosing some of the human rights topics.

Freedom of expression

“Languages change, it will change itself”. I remember a journalist shrugged his shoulders at that a couple of years ago at an event  I was at. I totally understand that languages change and words evolve into different meanings. I too have freedom of expression and I am saying that it is not okay to name a disability after an ethnicity and abuse people with learning difficulties and disabilities using the term “mongol”. I have met people who have told me  “I hate that word”, pointing at my book title. Since I grew up I have had pride and joy in being a Mongol. This word should read and feel like other ethnicity or nationality like French, Scottish, German or English.

Right to the truth

We all have the right to the truth. We should be told how this term started. As much as I appreciate what John Langdon Down did in his time – the 1860’s – putting Down’s syndrome on the medical map he named this syndrome using the term “mongoloid”. In his opinion, people with Down’s syndrome looked like Mongols. He might have used the term to describe the syndrome, but it quickly became the worldwide medical term for Down’s syndrome translated into many languages causing confusion between the Mongolian ethnicity and people with Down’s syndrome. Eventually, in the 1960’s The World Health Organisation (WHO) dropped the term from medical context at the insistence of the Mongolians and changed it into “Down’s syndrome” after John Langdon Down himself.

People with disabilities

Now the term “mongol” has become part of hate speech, used to bully people with disabilities. It depends on which country, which class, who your friends and family are and even the region you live in. The term has grown different endings in different languages (“mogolico in Spanish; mongool in Dutch”) and different short versions like “mong” and “mongo”. This year, in Lebanon they have been campaigning to stop using the word mongol to describe people with Down’s syndrome, they banned the word. Why? Because this word brings shame, hurt and anger.

The Argentinian Down’s Syndrome organisation made a video campaigning to stop using certain insult words including “mogolico”:

Migrants

“When you come to a new country and a new culture, you follow what they do.“, someone said to me. “You just grow some resilience”, she continued. Of course, that’s what I try to do being a migrant in Britain. But my heart tells me that not everyone is like her. My heart tells me that there are people out there who would understand where I’m coming from, from my perspective. I know that because they told me that “We are not like that. We can change it. We can.”

Yes, I know WE CAN. It might take a while. I will be talking about, writing about and campaigning about this word “Mongol” and I hope you will support and do your part too.

Mongol Ebook out on 10 December!

After discussions with my publisher we decided to release the ebook on Human Rights Day next month – December 10th, a month before the paperback on January 16th. Why that day for the Kindle book? Mongol Memoir in Paperback

I feel that International Human Rights Day is a perfect day for Mongol to be seen, read and talked about for many reasons. Even though it may seem a one woman’s story it talks about many issues that we face in today’s society.

I found my voice using the internet and social media to inform, engage and change attitudes. I found my supporters through the internet while I blogged, tweeted and changed nappies. I found others who are, like me, wanting to be accepted in society no matter where they were from, what they looked like and what abilities and disabilities they had. Yes, it is a perfect day for Mongol to face the world and show we are all the same.