Mongol [mong-gohl], noun, 1. a member of a pastoral people now living chiefly in Mongolia. 2. (offensive) a person affected with Down’s Syndrome. Uuganaa is a Mongol living in Britain, far from the world she grew up in: as a nomadic herder she lived in a yurt, eating marmot meat, distilling vodka from goat’s yoghurt and learning about Comrade Lenin. When her new-born son Billy is diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, she finds herself facing bigotry and taboo as well as heartbreak. In this powerful memoir, Uuganaa skilfully interweaves the extraordinary story of her own childhood in Mongolia with the sadly short life of Billy, who becomes a symbol of union and disunion, cultures and complexity, stigma and superstition and inspires Uuganaa to challenge prejudice. Mongol is the touching story of one woman’s transformation from outsider to fearless champion of love, respect and tolerance. It’s a moving tribute by a remarkable woman to her beloved baby son, testifying to his lasting impact on a sometimes imperfect world.
Prizes and awards
Winner of the Janetta Bowie Chalice for non-fiction (Scottish Associatiion of Writers); Winner of a Scottish Asian Women's Award 2014; Woman of the Year 2012 Award for Mongolians in Europe. Winner, Janetta Bowie Chalice non-fiction award.
REVIEWS OF Mongol
'Clear and quick-moving as the streams where she washed clothes as a child ...someone to watch'. - Bookslut Read more
'Compelling and moving. I could'nt put the book down. This book is an education.' - Nasim Marie Jafry Read more
'Thought-provoking insight... honest and heart-wrenching.' - Penny Green, Downs Heart Group
"An interesting narrative of considerable cultural insight and cross-cultural value." - Colin Nicholson
"A gripping read that will touch your heart... an enthralling tale, beautifully written. Moving and uplifting." - Sheila Grant, NewBooks Magazine.