Mary Smith lives in south west Scotland where she grew up. In between she spent ten years working on various health projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has been hugely influential on her writing. On her return to Scotland she did a Masters degree in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. Her first novel, No More Mulberries, is set in Afghanistan. As well as fiction, she writes narrative non-fiction and is also a published poet. As a freelance journalist she writes features on the arts, local history and interesting people. She wants to travel more – maybe when her son graduates!
You will feel you have really got to know these people and will want to know what happens in their lives long after you’ve read the last chapter. ~ Joseph King AVP
Set in Afghanistan, No More Mulberries is the story of Scottish-born Miriam and her Afghan husband Dr Iqbal. Miriam loves her work at a rural health clinic in Afghanistan but is aware of cracks appearing in her marriage, though she doesn’t know what is going wrong – only that her husband seems to be changing and is no longer the man she married. When, against Iqbal’s wishes, Miriam agrees to act as translator at a health teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. An old friend appears at the camp, inviting her to visit his village and Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past where she must face up to the traumatic loss of her first husband, killed by a mujahideen group. When she realises it is partly her own behaviour which has damaged her relationship with Iqbal, Miriam resolves to put things right between them – but is she too late? Will Iqbal still want her, or will the return of his first love, a beautiful Afghan girl now a widow, mean he no longer wants Miriam? No More Mulberries is a novel about loss, divided loyalties, and, ultimately, love. As well as a powerful story it offers an intriguing and authentic insight into daily life in rural Afghanistan.
At times hilarious and heartbreaking, this book brings to life a country many would just as soon forget about. ~ Erin Gilmer
Drunk Chickens and Burn Macaroni offers a remarkable insight into the lives of Afghan women both before and after Taliban’s rise to power. The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether enjoying a good gossip over tea and fresh nan, dealing with a husband’s desertion, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely.
Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in both remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Given the opportunity to participate more fully than most other foreigners in the lives of the women, many of whom became close friends, she has been able to present this unique portrayal of Afghan women – a portrayal very different from the one most often presented by the media.