Some of the wonderful endorsements of ‘Helen & the Grandbees’ gathered by Legend Press

Breathtaking and moving, Helen and the Grandbees is a novel that bravely explores themes of familial discord, race and love in modern Britain. It is a book that immediately gripped me, compelling me to keep turning the pages well into the night. Morrall writes with confidence, poise, and a sense of humour to match. At times heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a novel readers won’t soon forget. A riveting debut.’Awais Khan, author of In the Company of Strangers

‘Alex can write; she has a way, a bit like playwright Mike Leigh, of zooming into the tiniest, seemingly mundane physical details of a situation, and in so doing, conveying the complexity, circularity and pattern of relationship and emotion. There is a humanity and a realism about her writing that Is far from commonplace despite the fact that when you read about the people and situations in her storytelling, they are instantly recognisable. Helen and the Grandbees is unbearably sad but because Alex manages the seemingly impossible feat of introducing hope right from the start it is possible to read and read on, with curiosity and enjoyment.’ Dr Kairen Cullen, Writer and Psychologist

‘Authentic and tender. This utterly moving novel has created an unforgettable heroine in Helen. I held my breath as her troubled life unfolded and wanted only the best for her and her grandbees. This gorgeous book is not just an exploration of identity, race and mental health, but also one about family love, sacrifice and bravery. I loved it.’ Carmel Harrington, International Bestselling Author

‘What an honor and privilege it has been to read Helen and the Grandbees. I enjoyed it immensely. Every single character was memorable and felt completely genuine. Alex Morrall is a hugely talented author, with a gift for drawing characters of vastly different ages and from various backgrounds and social classes… This is the type of novel that will stick with me for a long time.’ Mary Rowen, author of Leaving the Beach

You can Pre-Order ‘Helen and the Grandbees’ here:

Kindness Matters

I’ve been trying to promote kindness in a novel I have coming out in September, inspired by people I’ve known in deprived areas of London who’s tragic pasts are woven into their lives but do not define them. One character was inspired by someone I observed persistently seeing the good in people, knowing their quirks didn’t show how they really were. I know some people may have found her too soft-hearted, but she was always surrounded by friends. In my novel, the character she inspires uses small positive observations to build up someone who has lost all faith in herself. This lets her fly in her own right

(If interested, the book is called “Helen &. The Grandbees” and is on pre-order at Amazon

#kindnessmatters #mentalhealthawarenessweek @royalgreenwich

Review of Aisha & Abhaya

I have a friend who’s face says everything. 

I admire that friend and how comfortable she is expressing contempt. However I don’t think I am too low in the contemptuous-glare-pecking-order. I like to believe I’m in the top 15%. So all I’m saying is, as we ascended from a distasterous ballet at the ROH, why did the interviewer with the TV camera choose me to ask what I thought of the ballet?! I mean did she not have enough contempt in her life? Did she need the drama of a woman furious at the experience she had just endured?

Okay, okay, I should be honest. The ballet itself was not a disaster. It was not flawless, as I will explain below, but my fury is for the management of the ROH who ought not to have booked the first 3 rows in the theatre which were about a yard from a 10m wide screen making the first part of the production impossible/painful to see. 

Just 2 yards from the stage, and facing… yes facing the nauseating beaming light of the projector  for fifteen minutes (of an hour long production)…. the guys in the front row spent the entire time shielding their eyes with their hands, my husband with his eyes closed and me enduring a headache.

I’m sorry, I haven’t finished yet… Prior to arriving we received an email warning us that there would be unexpectedly loud sounds and that earplugs would be provided on the way in.  We’d expected pyrotechnics, but no, it was just very loud music. So why the formal email, how about umm…. like… just turn the music down?

So the first 15 minutes kind of ruined things. On to the production. I couldn’t really see what was going on with Aisha and Abhaya (A&A) for the first quarter (see above) but eventually the film gave way to onstage dancers seeming journeying and getting tired journeying through a citadel. The dancers were increibly talented, their movements diverse and subtle and very flexible indeed. The monotonous music seemed to offer no cues in what seemed to be thirty minutes but not a beat was missed, their timing impeccable. Emerging from the citadel they arrived the dance showing their hearts frantically beating at the new and alien visions they encountered. They appeared to give way to sex as a comfort, a diversion or addition before the scene of the past. This was talented and symbolic, but felt like we only saw the supporting cast, where did Aisha and Abhaya fit into this?

Cut back to them, and their past escaping following the violent murder of a parent/guardian/fairy god mother on the screen, before the dancers return… with an uprising? Maybe? Very beautifully portrayed either way. 

Eventually we return to A&A asleep on cobbles in an alley way where their deceased guardian awakens them from sleep and they disappear into the stars. AKA join her in death I suppose. Should I be moved? Well I’m sorry anyone’s dead but I’ve just spent an hour watching their journey and I’ve no idea why they’re asleep on the cobbles. I’m figuring they had the sort of life that makes you angry when you watch the news,  but I’m somehow void of anger here – nothing has inspired me to empathy: neither in the symbolism or the telling of their story. The protagonists never appeared on stage 

This was the flaw of the production (the non technical ROH contempt for the poor seats flaw) the inability to merge the symbolic and the literal… or just choose between them; and the inability to inspire empathy or enlightenment. That said, ignoring my anger at ROH, there was a lot of good going here.

And the dancers were excellent. Overall I appreciated the aspiration of the production.

And a shout out to the charming, really charming service at nearby Cora Pearl, with the exceptionally high quality set menu that we started with. Actually puts blackheath quality and prices to shame.

Don’t forget to pre-order ‘Helen & The Grandbees’ (which  features a different AIsha):