Monday, March 11, 2019

Blagging your way into a writing residency

I've been writer-in-residence in a biochemistry lab... and I am now writer-in-residence in a cemetery. How did these things come about? I'm glad you asked, because I've written about it over at RLF Collected! Here's a snippet:

I used to be a journalist and the joy of that job was the access it gave me. You say, ‘Hello, I’d like to write an article about you/your company’, and, most of the time, the door is opened wide. I met fascinating people and learned about worlds hidden to everyone except those who work there. When I moved to writing fiction, it seemed as though my life would involve a lot of alone time, which was fine: I like solitude. But I have a science background, and after my first story collection was published – which contains stories inspired by science articles – and I moved to Bristol, I decided I wanted to spend time with the scientists themselves. I had an undergraduate degree in science but I had no idea what it was like to do science on a daily basis. I didn’t wait for an invitation, or for a position to be advertised. I approached the Dean of the Faculty of Science and said, ‘Can I be your writer-in-residence?’...

Read the rest of the article here >>

Friday, February 01, 2019

Groceries - flash fiction prize

I've only recently started writing flash fiction again after a few years off, mostly writing poems. It's a joy to get back to characters, to making things up - and a true delight that one of my new flash stories recently won the Writers' HQ LGBTQ Flash Fiction contest! You can read the story, Groceries, here, if you'd like to. Thanks so much to the judges, Paul McVeigh and Kirsty Logan and the fab folk at Writers HQ.

Monday, November 26, 2018

My first audiobook!

So - I've made my very first audiobook! Produced by the excellent SoundByte Recording, you can listen to me reading stories from my first collection, The White Road & Other Stories (Salt Modern Fiction, 2008). Available from Audible and Amazon -   click here to hear me reading a sample story, my flash story, Plaits.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Short short poem - online course

 UPDATE: The course is now full!

I think you all probably know that I'm a fan of short things. So when the Poetry School asked me if I'd like to run an online masterclass, and, if so, on what - after swallowing the urge to say, Don't be silly, I can't run a MASTERCLASS, are you sure you mean me? - I said, How about short short poems? And they said, OK. So, I’m excited - and a little daunted - to tell you that registration is now open! There are only 10 places, we kick off in Jan, and it’s open internationally, so you can join us from anywhere. Here's the blurb:

Short Short Poems: White Space and Silence (Masterclass)

Leave no word unturned

Living in this age of constant word bombardment, why not give your reader the gift of a bit more white space, a little more silence? A poem can be any length, from one line to a whole book. But there is something magical about the very short poem, under ten lines or so; while less is not necessarily more, it is definitely different. ‘The short poem, at its best, brings about an almost instantaneous surge of both understanding and sensation unavailble elsewhere’, writes Simon Armitage in the introduction to the Short and Sweet anthology. In this advanced Masterclass we will be exploring the tiniest of poems, written by poets from Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson and Charles Causley to Rae Armantrout, Andrea Cohen and Selima Hill, alongside the shortest new offerings in today’s poetry journals. We will weigh the weight of each word, each breath and comma, to assess what needs to be said and what can remain between the lines, a useful skill for any writer. We will also create our own short poems, as well as exploring the effects of a constellation of poems on a page, and excavating our longer works-in-progress to see what treasures might be hidden inside.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our Interactive and International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no regular live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

Booking details here:

Thursday, October 04, 2018

National Poetry Day special offer!


It's National Poetry Day here in the UK today, and to celebrate, I have a special offer: buy a copy of my poetry collection, Terms & Conditions and get a FREE copy of my poetry pamphlet, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open, FREE postage in the UK (£3 for rest of world) – and I will donate £1 from every sale to Book Aid International, a charity making sure everyone has access to books.