Interview: Tales of BloodAmniatta Forna’s book The Memory of Love is a poignant story about love, friendship, betrayal and most importantly, the ravages of war and its effect on civilians. The winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Forna is a proud African whose preoccupations with her father’s homeland Sierra,Interview: Tales of BloodAmniatta Forna’s book The Memory of Love is a poignant story about love, friendship, betrayal and most importantly, the ravages of war and its effect on civilians. The winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Forna is a proud African whose preoccupations with her father’s homeland Sierra Leone, are evident in her book, even though she spent most of her adult life in the UK. She talks about the process of writing and her love for Africa.Q. Was writing about civil war a cathartic experience for you?A. Writing is never therapeutic. If you do, as I do, choose to write about war, you have to confront the very worst of what humans can do to each other. Writing is about the story, not the author. Part of my family comes from a country where terrible things happened. It would be extraordinary, as an author, not to want to write about it.Q. What were the themes you explored in The Memory of Love?A. I wanted to explore how a country implodes and analyse the steps towards downfall. Every catastrophe starts with an individual act or acts.Q. What are your fondest memories of growing up in Sierra Leone?A. I had such freedom. It was a special treat to go and eat chicken curry at the beach club on Sundays. The chef cooked it only once a week and it came on a trolley accompanied with dishes of chopped paw-paw, coconut, peanuts and raisins. I have never been served curry that way anywhere else.Q. Who are your favourite authors?A. Margaret Atwood, E. Annie Proulx, Michael Ondaatje, Pat Barker, Barbara Kingsolver and Kiran Desai .Shared successadvertisementThe Dell Women’s Entrepreneurial Network 2011(DWEN), an annual event now in its second year, got off to a great start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil recently. For two days 150 women entrepreneurs from across the globe attended panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and informal chats. Emcee Moria Forbes, in her opening address talked about the foresight of her grandfather to include a women in business column in the very first issue of Forbes magazine in 1917. Leila Velez, president of the Brazilian beauty chain, Beleza Naturals, shared the experience of how her company overcame initial sceptism to open 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Her story reinstated the fact that women entrepreneurs across the globe face similar challenges. From lack of investors to user friendly technology, DWEN addressed all the needs and anxieties of a woman entrepreneur. By instructing delegates to “tell us what you need and what you can offer”on a card right at the start, the conference enabled the participants to find valuable business insights and solutions through pitches and discussions. The enthusiasm of the delegates made the event spontaneous, with lots of laughter and camaraderie.Small wonderDid you know that cinnamon helps lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with Type 2 diabetes? A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says just that. It also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by creating healthier arteries. That, however, is no excuse for you to binge on cinnamon rolls. Opt for healthier alternatives instead, like adding a teaspoon to your morning coffee. Its energising smell will help increase alertness and set your pace for a busy day ahead.Gender benderEgalia, a government preschool in Sweden is the most radical example of measures that are being taken to confront the issue of gender equality. The preschool attempts at changing gender constructs by ignoring them. From the colour and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes. Even as some parents are crying themselves hoarse about the effects on a child’s psychology, the Swedish government maintains it’s a positive step. Extreme or justified? You decide.In her shoesMelissa Potter, 42, Chief Executive Officer of Clarks, the largest privately owned shoe company in the world, was in India recently to launch the label. Potter says the company has major expansion plans in the region, “Being the fastest growing market in the world, it’s a place no serious business can ignore.” Potter started in the sales department of the company and what helped her cut through the largely male driven manufacturing environment of the business was her belief that if she was the best at what she did, nothing could stop her. Also, it helps that she loves shoes.advertisementWell heeledHere is a case of taking a trend too far.We know that sometimes everyone gets a little tired of wearing sneakers, but who can be gutsy enough to get into a pair of high heels for any sport? The Nike Dunk High Heels Boots which are glitzy sneakers with stiletto heels are futuristic in appeal and definitely not for the fainthearted. This is a trend that only fashion divas can carry off. After all, not everyone can be as edgy as Nicki Minaj and Rihanna and thank god for that.What’s hotImran Khan His new scruffy look makes him completely irresistible. We just can’t get enough.Woven Jewellery What started as a street trend has now become the latest hip must-have. What’s notHugh HefnerMaybe 85 is a good time to stop announcing new girlfriends and renew lost dignity.Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Yes she is having a baby, but can we please move on to the next big issue?If you have five minutes: Download StumbleUpon, a free discovery engine that finds the best of the web, personalised just for you.If you have an hour: Listen to the album Sinema by Petercat Recording Co. It is sure to woo you with its 50s orchestra feel.Quick fixWorking round the clock may get you at the top of the corporate ladder, but it can leave serious health repercussions in its wake. Take a break to refresh yourself everyday with these easy fixes.Pain in feet and ankles: The reason for this are the long hours you spend sitting down at your desk. To get rid of the pain remove your shoes and cross your right ankle over your left thigh, gently massage the bottom of your feet and then switch.A sore neck and shoulder: Usually the result of slouching for hours in front of the screen. Ease the pain by standing with feet wide apart and placing your hands on the corners of your lower back. Rotate your shoulders up and down. Inhale and feel the tautness disappear.Aching wrists: These are caused because of excessive typing. Take a break while working, stretch your arms in front of you and press your palms to keep them pain free.New worldJ.K. Rowling, the author of the best-selling fantasy series Harry Potter might have put an end to the seven book series, but she is having as much problem letting go, it seems, as her fans. The author recently announced the advent of Pottermore, a free-to-use website which builds an online experience around the reading of the series. J.K. Rowling has written extensive new material for the project about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories, which will inform, inspire and entertain readers as they journey through the online books. “I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation,” says the author. We can already see the madness begin.advertisementSummer bluesThe soaring temperatures and increasing humidity can make even the healthiest skin lose its freshness and replace it either with a plastic oily sheen or breakouts that make you look like as if you’ve hit puberty all over again. To avoid being embarrassed about your face, keep two basic things in mind. Start by keeping your pores clean and avoid oil based make up and moisturisers which clog, resulting in ugly pimples and acne. Exfoliate three to four times a week with a mild scrub, especially after exercising. Use a salicylic acid toner in the morning, right after you wash your face, as it helps remove the dead cells from the skin that hold on to the oil.5 Super heroines we loveElektraA Marvel Comics character, she is a martial expert with a degree in political science and a tragic past.Lara CroftCreated by Toby Gard, this beautiful and intelligent archaeologist is perfect.HuntressThis DC Comics character is on a quest like Batman to bring justice to Gotham and will stop at nothing.Cat WomanAssociated with the Batman franchise for DC Comics, she has the agility of a cat and a wit that can put any man to shame.Wonder WomanA DC Comics super heroine, she is a distinct feminist role model.Who would not love this Amazonian?