Friday, June 21, 2019

New poem, The Aunts

I was lucky enough, as writer in residence at Manchester Southern Cemetery, to have a poem commissioned by the Manchester Poetry Library for the Radość Pisania: Manchester Polish Poetry Festival 2018. They asked me to respond to the work of Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, the “Polish Sappho” (born in Kraków 1891, died in Manchester 1945), who is buried in the cemetery, and it was such a joy to discover her work, and then take inspiration from it. I read the poem at her grave during the festival, it felt immensely special. Here's a teaser:

The Aunts

Goodness and badness, stray from them
equally, say the aunts, robust
as hens and tough as millet seeds. Some
look through the window, others

are solving puzzles in a corner, one
is painting my ceiling. Good
and bad? I say. The aunts shake
and nod their heads. Outside...


You can read the full poem here.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Bumper week of publications

I'm not sure in my 15 or so years of writing that I've ever had a week like this - three pieces (in different genres) published in seven days: an audio poem, a science-inspired flash story and my second ever published piece of creative non-fiction! Here are the links if you'd like to listen to/read them.

Spendid, First Draft Manchester



How You Are, science-inspired flash fiction in Synaesthesia magazine

Rewatching Grey's Anatomy, creative non-fiction in The Real Story


I also have three poems in the new issue of print mag Golden Handcuffs Review - details here if you'd like to purchase a copy.

Friday, April 26, 2019

3 writing workshops in June in the North

Come write with me, no previous writing experience necessary! I'm running three writing workshop in June:

June 1 A science-inspired flash workshop as part of the Northern Short Story Festival in Leeds. More details here.

June 8 A place-themed flash fiction workshop as part of the inaugural Victoria Baths Weekend of Words, in the Victoria Baths in Manchester. Details here.

June 23 A very special tour of Manchester's Southern Cemetery  & cross-genre writing workshop together with fabulous tour guide Emma Fox as part of the Didsbury Arts Festival. Details here.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Bringing Myself With Me

My first piece of narrative non-fiction, Bringing Myself With Me, inspired by the large amount of TV I've been watching while I've not been very well, has just been published by the excellent Syndicated magazine:

For once I’d like to watch TV without me. I’d like to leave myself in the other room, happily chatting on Twitter, writing a poem, or tidying up and just sit and stare at the screen. Why do I need to bring myself into everything I see, from Grey’s Anatomy and all the doctors falling for one another and saving lives and screwing up, to the young woman on Shrill finding her feet, to Vera, the older police inspector who solves crimes and then goes home alone? It’s a constant in my head, asking, “Am I like that?” “Is that me?” “Would I do what she did?” “Have I been there?” “Would I like to be?”
You can read the full piece here - I'm off to watch more telly! (I have another piece of narrative non-fiction on TV-watching forthcoming in The Real Story - watch this space.)

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.