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.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The White Road Audiobook!

Today's the 10th birthday of my first book, The White Road & Other Stories, published in 2008 by the fab Salt Publishing! To celebrate, I've made an audiobook with the wonderful Soundbite Recording, which will be out later this month. Here's a teaser:

 More info on the book here>>

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Powers of Ten

I'm very happy to have found a home at the Blue Fifth Review for an odd little hybrid poem/fiction inspired by the wonderfully strange 1970s science film "Powers of Ten" ! You can read the piece here and watch the film below!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Writing and Mental Health

I've never been asked questions about writing and mental health & well-being before - here is an excerpt from my responses to questions by the Ignis Poetry Collective, a new organisation aiming to "explore and improve mental health via poetry and writing"
Do you think there has there been a direct impact upon your mental health/well-being as a result of leaving behind science journalism in favour of fiction and poetry? 

Yes – I was much calmer when I was a science journalist! I had some sort of structure, I had deadlines, I was being paid for each article, and more than that I was leaving the house to meet fascinating people, learning about new technologies and breakthroughs, it was very stimulating, I loved that job. But writing fiction was my dream from childhood, and at a certain point there was no more ignoring that. When I started writing short stories, I also started experiencing great mood swings and anxiety, because I was delving inside myself, spending more time alone – and obviously no-one was waiting for me to produce anything, and the chances of getting paid for it were fairly slim.
You can read the full interview here:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Talking about reading... and writing

Two new interviews with me this week - the first is an audio piece over at the Royal Literary Fund's website in which I talk about my reading habits and reference the Large Hadron Collider (of course):

'The first writing course I ever went on was actually a reading course. The library was my church as a child, but I'd never stopped to look at the page as a writer might'

Listen to the piece (which is 3 minutes long) here:

And the lovely folk at the New Flash Fiction Review asked me some questions about my flash story, My Mother Was An Upright Piano, which is the title story of my second collection from 2012, and is shortly - and most thrillingly- being reprinted in an anthology, NEW MICRO — EXCEPTIONALLY SHORT FICTION (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018). Here's a taster:

TD: What gives micros their power? Language? Silence? Structure?

TH: As with any piece of great writing, this is hard to pin down, and I am an avoider of general pronouncements. I read around 1000 short and very short stories and poems, and non-fictions, every year, and I demand no less from a great piece of writing than to feel like I have been punched in the gut. Every piece that does that to me seems to do it in its own way, each writer makes it their own, which is the way it should be. I have a great love for a freshness of language, cliché turns me off, laziness of language will stop me in my tracks. Voice is what grabs me as a reader, the voice of a character or the narrator, in any piece of any length. The story itself, the plot, maybe be tiny and quiet, I never ask for enormous events to happen, there is great power in the small moments.

You can read the full interview, in which I carry on unhelpfully refusing to make grand pronouncements, here!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Suffragette-themed writing workshop - coming to a location near you?

I ran a suffragette-themed flash fiction workshop for the fabulous Word Factory yesterday in the gorgeous Tara Theatre, culminating in a performance that night of the brand-new work the participants produced. I've never done anything quite like that before - and was very moved by the pieces produced by the 18 writers, which dealt with the present and the future as well as the past. I did a huge amount of research, and would love to run this workshop again - please do get in touch with me if you think you'd like me to run one near you! We can discuss fees & logistics, I am happy to customise it for different groups and different needs!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Happy Birthday to Some Of Us Glow...!

My short story collection, Some Of Us Glow More Than Others, is a year old today! In celebration, my publisher, Unthank Books, asked me to share some thoughts on writing short stories on their blog:

"What is a short story? As a writer, I’d rather ask: What can I make the short story do for me?" 

You can read the full blog post here, your thoughts on my thoughts very welcome!

and find out more about the book here: 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bursaries for Arvon Flash Fiction course for BAME/Low income writers

My crowdfunding campaign went wonderfully -  I can now offer three £250 bursaries for BAME writers or writers on low income who would like to attend the Arvon foundation 5-day residential flash fiction course I am co-tutoring, with the amazing Nuala O'Connor, in Devon in November. More details about the course here - there are only a few places on the course left. This funding is coming directly from me -  if you'd like to be considered for one of the £250 bursaries (you will need to pay for the remainder of the course fee yourself) or you know someone who is not on social media who might like to apply, please email me as soon as possible and let me know why you'd like the funding! It's going to be a wonderful week, come join us!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Why I write: A sense of wrongness

I'm over at the RLF's Vox audio podcasts today, with a piece I wrote and recorded for their "Why I Write" series. I had no idea what I was going to say before I started writing the piece - and thinking about it, I realised something I hadn't understood before, that I write out of a sense of wrongness: "For the first forty-four years of my life I’ve always felt in some way or other, myself, wrong. Wrong inside this body. Wrong inside my head. Not a strong wrongness, but a slight vague feeling." You can listen to the rest of my musings on wrongness, rightness and writing here!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Crowdfunding for Arvon bursary

Going on an Arvon residential writing course can be a life-changing experience for both beginner and more experienced writers - I know this from personal experience! However, the costs (£720 -£770 per place) can be daunting, even with the grants that Arvon itself offers, so I am crowdfunding to offer up to four half-funded places for those who wouldn't consider applying or be able to apply - BAME writers, writers on low income, writers from other marginalised communities - on the 5-day residential Arvon Flash Fiction course I am co-tutoring with Nuala O'Connor in November 2018. Every pound helps, if you can spare it! I have raised almost 25% already in only a few days, which is amazing.

When I have raised the funds I will call for applications from writers who would like one of the places.  You can find out more about the course here.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Terms and Conditions FilmPoem

I always love it when someone takes a piece of my writing and uses it as inspiration for another type of medium - several filmmakers have made films of my flash fictions and a poem, you can see them here (scroll down). And now Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron of Poetry Film Live have made a film of the title poem from my new collection, published last year by Nine Arches Press - with the added delight that I asked my brother, Nick Hershman, if we could use one of his songs, and he agreed! I think the result is rather wonderful, I hope you enjoy it: