“Morning Sun” by Edward Hopper, oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 40 1/8″, 1952.

Every year since I moved away for college in Dublin, Christmas has been bookended by my own or my friends’ comings and goings. As an adolescent, emigration had been something I understood only conceptually — something I learned about in school, read about in the papers, heard about from a neighbour whose daughter was in Australia. This changed when I got to university in 2013, where it felt like the experience of being an Irish young adult necessarily entailed the thwarting of friendships by exciting opportunities further afield. Many classmates left for Erasmus and study abroad in third year. My…


I have been writing for seventeen years. Ten months ago, and following a year-long period of doing it exclusively for academic purposes, I promised myself I would start writing again. The process has been excruciatingly difficult.

Ten months later, I have a folder of documents on my computer desktop, the contents of which amass to over twelve thousand words of partially completed essays — thoughts elaborated on, but insufficiently so, some paragraphs in need of extensive refining, while others remain unwritten. Earlier today, I changed the name of the folder from ‘Essays’ (blatantly misleading) to ‘Unfinished Drafts’ (far more accurate).

Huda Awan

Trying to write

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