Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I'm really honoured to be featured on my fabulous friend and poet Julie Maclean's blog, with two (or perhaps three - you'll see what I mean) of my poems - yup, one has line breaks. I know. Daring, eh? I've been doing quite a lot of that recently, really enjoying myself! It's wonderful to attempt something new, scary too but it keeps me on my toes.

I've been reading loads of poetry too - here are a few recent favourites:
Dreamwood by Adrienne Rich
The Colonel by Carolyn Forche
Stars and Planets by Norman MacCaig

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Update, deadlines, appearances, chattings

Okay, people, the deadline, May 31st - is fast approaching. I am deeply honoured to be the judge of the flash fiction section, but I would be even more deeply honoured to be given the privilege of reading your flash fictions. So please please send 'em! 250 words maximum, no minimum (wow me in 50, I know it can be done...): first prize of £1,000, second prize £500, 3rd prize of £250, 3 supplementary prizes of £25.  Details here >>

What else is upcoming? Well, on June 21st I get to do something immensely exciting, which is to chair a session on surreal and weird short stories with three of my favourite writers at Spread the Word's inaugural London Short Story Festival: Adam Marek, Dan Powell and Rob Shearman. I will be interrogating them fiercely about the what, why and how of it all, and they will be sharing their work and their thoughts about it all with me and, by extension, you. Come! Find out more here >> 
Then, later that same day you will find me celebrating flash fiction at the National Flash Fiction Day event in Bristol. More details on that soon!
And I will be playing Word Association with Tom Vowler as part of the blog tour for his new novel, That Dark Remembered Day, on July 10th. Find out more about the tour here >>
And then I'm presenting an academic paper and then I'm off to Vienna and ... ok, enough excitement for one day. Going to go do some writing now. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Happy book birthday to me!

Wow. My Mother Was An Upright Piano, my second collection of fictions, is two years' old today. It was published on May 3, 2012 by Tangent Books. I hadn't thought I was going to do anything about the birthday, hence writing this at 11.07pm! But I feel like I want to say something. Something short, which is in keeping with the book's contents and with my general writing ethos. I am very grateful. That's what I want to say. It was always my dream, from childhood, to have my name on the spine of one book. I get it on two books (although, actually, my name couldn't fit on MMWAUP, a warning to those of you choosing lengthy titles!).

But on a serious note, having a book at all was never something I believed would really happen. I think I thought it was only something other people got to do. Just like I think I thought that being a writer was somehow only something other people (maybe the ones with the degrees in English rather than Maths and Physics) got to do. And here I am, doing it. Every day, almost everything I think about, everything I do, has something to do with being a writer. (Yes, even you, Twitter). How wonderful, miraculous, awe-inspiringly fantastic is that? I get to be a writer, I get to spend time with other writers, I get to write and to talk about writing. And - more often than not these days - I get paid for it. It's my JOB.

I won't go on. I'll only say again that I feel grateful, and immensely blessed. Dare to dream. It's worth it.