“Djinxed” in Indonesia: Ellen Hawkins’s new memoir

Ellen Hawkins, a Canadian author residing in Santiago, Chile, announces the publication of her memoir Djinxed. Ellen participated in my workshop series at Los Parronales Writers’ Retreat in Santiago, in February 2010. Here, in her own words, is some intriguing background on her book:

When my husband and I and our two small children arrived in Indonesia in 1971 this populous Muslim country was gradually recovering from the social and political upheaval that had brought Suharto to power five years earlier. Patchy infrastructure, widespread poverty and colossal heat were daily reminders that we were a long way from home.

This posting, our fourth with a multinational firm, shaped all our lives. The memory it left was ultimately too absurd to be digested except over time and with the pen—being a tale of fevers and corruption, rioting and ritual sacrifice, building a factory and starting a school. However, in the telling I soon recognized a need to reconnect with siblings and cousins I once left behind, and to flesh out the story for our own children.

I began writing the book in 2000. Frequent visits to Toronto, where our children and grandchildren live, interrupted progress, and each return to Chile required a period of emotional readjustment before I could begin again. I was also learning more about the art and craft of writing, thanks to annual retreats hosted by Susan Siddeley at Los Parronales, near Santiago, where Canadian authors, poets and editors offer stimulating workshops. Each new insight led to rewriting or restructuring.

One day the Djinx slithered onto the page, initially a literary device to allow the telling of my husband’s story, but he subsequently needed much polishing. Throughout this lengthy process, Santiago Writers, a private group of fellow writers, provided constant support and invaluable critiquing, for which I am ever grateful.

Santiago has been our home for the past eighteen years. Since the English-speaking community here is sizable and my most likely audience beyond family, I chose to self-publish locally. This has been a further challenge, given the need to personally oversee the promotion and distribution of the book.

I’m now hoping this literary offering will not be “djinxed,” as we once were in Indonesia, for though the character in the title is entirely fictional, I couldn’t swear that he does not exist.


Djinxed, by Ellen Hawkins, is available direct from the author. Contact her at hawkins02@mi.cl


  1. Mary says:

    Hearty congratulations on your accomplishment. A 10-year odyssey completed. I wish you continued success.

    Mary McIntyre

  2. Ellen,
    Congratulations on completing your memoir! Self-publishing and marketing your own book is a big challenge. Have you thought of publishing an E-Book version as well?
    all the best,

  3. jane ireland says:

    Fantastic news.
    i am realy looking forward to reading this one.
    see you soon in Santiago
    love from Cape town..SA.

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