Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Amanda Huggins

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you, Hamish, for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all of your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGGeeks: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Amanda Huggins: I’m a British writer living in the north of England, the author of the novellas All Our Squandered Beauty and Crossing the Lines as well as six collections of short stories and poetry. My work has also appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Mslexia, Popshot, Tokyo Weekender, The Telegraph, Traveller, Wanderlust, the Guardian and numerous other publications and anthologies. Three of my flash fiction stories have been broadcast on BBC radio.

I’ve won several awards for my work, including three Saboteur Awards for fiction and poetry, the Kyoto City Mayoral Prize, the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award, the H E Bates Short Story Prize and the BGTW New Travel Writer of the Year. I’ve also been a runner-up in the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Competition, the Costa Short Story Award and the Fish Short Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Bridport Flash Prize, The Alpine Fellowship Award and many others. 

My first full-length poetry collection, talk to me about when we were perfect, is out now from Victorina Press, and in early 2024 they are publishing Each of Us a Petal, which is a collection of my stories set in/referencing Japan.

TGG: Could you tell us about your poem in the anthology?

AH: The poem ‘Love on a low flame’ was inspired by a stroll along the Kamo river on my very first trip to Japan almost twenty years ago, and by a walk through Gion shortly after a heavy rain shower. Kyoto is a place of timeless memories and living history, a place where everything has been seen and felt a thousand times by those who have visited before, and yet, to paraphrase Willa Cather, those few human stories go on repeating themselves as fiercely as though they have never happened before. I cannot put it more eloquently than Pico Iyer in his foreword: “Kyoto is the place for writing of all that is missing or vanished, a long wait through the night…”

TGG: What does being a Writer in Kyoto mean to you?

AH: I have been a member of the public group for many years, and I am lucky to have had work published in the last WiK anthology as well as The Nature of Kyoto. As a regular visitor to Japan and a lifetime lover of all things Japanese, I have written about the country in both my fiction and travel writing for many years. The group has been kind enough to promote my writing in several ways – thanks to Robert Weis, my commissioned piece on hanami appeared in the catalogue for Spirit of Shizen exhibition in Luxembourg, and I have had work published in the TW Creatives section of Tokyo Weekender thanks to an introduction from John Dougill. So to win the Kyoto City Mayoral Prize and be accepted as a ‘full’ member means a lot to me – I feel a little closer to Japan.

TGG: What’s next for you?

AH: I’m concentrating on my short stories at the moment – I’m delighted that one of my stories set in Japan has just been published in the July/August edition of Harper’s Bazaar UK. However, I also have a novella brewing – a dual timeline story set on the north east coast of England and in Japan!

TGG: How can we best support you?

AH: All my books are available on Amazon UK, or direct from the publishers – www.victorinapress.com and www.valleypressuk.com 

You can find me on Twitter/Instagram at @troutiemcfish or my blog:

The Nature of Kyoto:



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One response to “Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Amanda Huggins”

  1. Carol warham Avatar
    Carol warham

    A great interview. I love Amanda’s creativity and imaginative writing

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