Hayling Island inspires author’s latest novel

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AN AUTHOR who spends her summer holidays on Hayling has set a moving book about immigration on the island.

Miriam Halahmy’s novel, Hidden, is about a 14-year-old who lives near the seafront and one day pulls a drowning refugee from the sea.

Mrs Halahmy used locations from the around the island to piece together the story of Alix’s family and Iraqi immigrant Mohammed’s destiny.

The author has worked with refugees and asylum seekers for many years and married into a large Iraqi family which provided inspiration.

The book is aimed at young adults and deals with the moral dilemma of hiding an injured refugee.

She said: ‘I have been a Londoner all my life and so were my parents but they always wanted to live by the sea. Then my father became the general contracts manager at Marconi so they moved to Hayling and threw themselves into island life and got to know it so well. That was in the 1970s and they lived there for 25 years which meant my family were always going back and forth.

‘Although they are no longer alive my husband and I just love it and take a flat in Southwood Road in the summer. One day I was walking on the beach, near where mum and dad used to live, and thought what a wonderful place it would be to set a book. There is so much to do – falling in and out of the water, having adventures on boats. The island is so beautiful in the summer but also the winter.’

The novel is published by Meadowside Childrens Books and available for £6.99. To find out more go to miriamhalahmy.com.