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Ex-rough sleeper up for literary prize

March 10th 2011

The writer Tom Gamble has been placed on the shortlist for a major literary prize for a novel which was partly influenced by his experiences sleeping on the streets.

Gamble's novel, Amazir, is one of six books on the shortlist for the Romantic Novelist Association's 2011 Pure Passion Award. He maintains that the novel is about the hope and love which can help carry people through periods of great difficulty.

"When you're down, even lower than you thought you'd sink to, your hope is rewarded in a small ways," Gamble explains. "A pleasant word from a stranger in the street, the sunshine warming you up, the sound of birds in a park where you slept overnight... this spurs you on to rise above your trials and get back on the road to self-confidence."

Gamble has previously spent several short periods sleeping rough: as a teenager unable to fully get over his parents break up, after moving to London, and then again at 38, following his own divorce.

"I wouldn't categorize myself as having been a homeless person," he says. "I just experienced a brief, tough time of being without fixed abode and think I saw and felt how it must be: the hunger, the loneliness, the worry, the pride that often prevents you asking for help, and also the of love for people who do actually look you in the eye. Some of that experience has come out in Amazir."

Gamble is keen for homeless people to read Amazir, as he feels that they would be able to relate personally to the novel's message.

"I think it's a message for them that life can sometimes be a rollercoaster - one moment up and the next freefalling," he said. "But that if you have the determination to rise up above it all, keep faith, keep your belief in luck and have an objective in sight, you can get through the storm."

Update: As we went to press, we found out that Tom was not the winner. Bad luck - next time, we hope!


March 2011



From frumpy to funky: "Fab pads" launch nationwide with style

Government action needed to address youth homelessness rise

Public help bring empty homes back into service

Ethical caf?© gives homeless chance to make a change

Sleeping uneasy

Changes to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau

SIFA Fireside holds memorial service

New service user led forum

Diamonds in the Rough art exhibition

Cannock church shelter discussions

Westminster plan ban

Update on Poncho?

Detail on the Hub

Second phone count

Winter shelters follow the pack

Funding nothing new

Ex-rough sleeper up for literary prize

Reading police seek help in murder

Tent city recognised in Seattle

HRH at Arlington hostel

Zulu council in London

Squats for rent?

Debut album with royal backing

Heroin drought

Homeless to Harvard

Street Shield 20: Home again!


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