Uuganaa Ramsay was born in Mongolia and grew up in a yurt, living a nomadic life eating marmot meat and distilling vodka from yoghurt. After winning a place on a teacher-training course she came to the UK, and now lives in Scotland.
When she first looked up her nationality in a dictionary, she was puzzled to find the word ‘Mongol’ had two very different meanings. She understood the first definition – that Mongol was the name given to people from Mongolia.
But it wasn’t until she moved to Scotland and gave birth to a son with Down’s Syndrome that she found herself facing all the taboos associated with the second meaning given for the word.
Tragically, her baby son Billy died aged just three months old. So, four years after Billy’s death, Uuganaa wrote a book to show others how hurtful the offensive use of the word ‘Mongol’ can be. And she was deeply touched by the reaction it received.
Uuganaa won the Scottish Asian Women’s Award For Achievement Against All Odds presented by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland. This award recognises the achievements of a Scottish Asian woman in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances – a true modern day heroine.
Mongol won the Janetta Bowie Chalice Non-Fiction Book Award from the Scottish Association of Writers. Mongol is her first book.