Writing about being a hostage #whatimwriting

I’ve been side-tracked! An idea for a novel bit me while I was in the middle of the final term of the MA. I wrote 25-30,000 words, then finished the first draft last November. This all took me away from working on first person experiences for a while … but now I’m back, although mainly as part of the research for the second draft.

Spinning off the Blindsided work I created last year, the novel addresses sight loss and disability, aid to the third world, and issues of empowerment and control, self and identity. Adam, an ophthalmologist, goes to West Africa thinking he can make a difference, but struggles as he is overwhelmed by the extent of the need for eye care. Mid way through his time in West Africa he is taken hostage … so I’ve been reading ‘hostage literature’ and checking out information from organisations that specialise in the field too.

In this post I list the books I’ve found, and I’ll add thoughts as I read them. If you spot anything relevant that I’ve missed, let me know.

Middle East – Beirut

Long, meditative writing where Waite looks back on his past, interspersed with details of the kidnapping.

Africa – Somali Pirates

A well written account, mainly focussed on the day to day life as a hostage, with a  couple of diversions looking at Somali politics, as well as the story of a sea captain also captured by pirates. A good quick read – you can tell it is written by a journalist. Freeman draws out key issues for hostages, looking at Stockholm syndrome, the issue of boredom on one hand while being on edge on the other, the way he began to appreciate it when nothing changed from day to day.




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Antonia Chitty

I'm a writer and author of over 20 non fiction books.

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