Monday, June 29, 2020

Get Gone - 2nd Prize

I'm delighted that my flash story, 'Get Gone', is 2nd prize-winner in Reflex Fiction's Spring 2020 flash contest! Here's a snippet:

Get gone, girl, she snarls and the girl, who never knows what she might be getting, goes. Galloping across roads, the girl feels herself small, feels herself dissolving. Giant clouds at the level of her shoulders try to make her laugh but the girl is not amused. Get gone, she herself says to the clouds, and to the snails that line the way, watching. Girls and snails never mix, this she knew from early on. 
Gathered in to herself later, after a day or week...
You can read the whole story here. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

New audio poems - octopuses, insects and John Clare!

It's been a week of audio poems for me this week - first, I was a guest on the octopus-themed episode of Radio 3's The Verb last Friday, where I had the enormous thrill of reading four poems inspired by Peter Godfrey-Smith's book, 'Other Minds: The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent life - in front of Peter himself! I have been told I don't come across as a completely hysterical fan girl, but you can judge for yourself, it's a really fun programme hosted brilliantly, as ever, by Ian McMillan, and with the excellent Kate Fox and Matthew Welton. There was a lot of giggling, something very necessary right now. You can listen here:

And from octopuses to insects...I love being asked/commissioned to write new work, especially when it's inspired by something completely unknown to me. I didn't know the poet John Clare's work at all, so really enjoyed it when I was given free rein to respond to his poems with my own poem for the new Thunder Mutters podcast. I discovered John and I share a fascination for insects; I have a poem in my collection about the fire ant. So I decided to talk to John about it... through poetry.

"Dear John...
I am interested
in your choice of insect
names: tiny
loiterers, happy units.."

It's at 10 mins 28s but do listen to the whole, magical Thunder Mutters podcast!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Octopuses on The Verb

I'm a guest on this week's thrilling octopus-themed The Verb on Radio 3, reading some of my new octopus poems - from my collection-in progress, 'Still Life With Octopus' -  inspired by Peter Godfrey-Smith's book, 'Other Minds: Octopuses and the Evolution of Intelligent Life' - and chatting with Peter himself, as well as the fantastic Kate Fox and Matthew Welton! You can listen to the programme here

Monday, May 18, 2020

No I do not tango

I recorded another poem for the #internationalpoetrycircle, "No, I Do Not Tango", from my Nine Arches Press collection, "Terms & Conditions".

 "I have stepped off
that dance floor, and I am
relieved. Every part of me
is mine..."


Friday, May 15, 2020

Online 8-week flash fiction course

I am delighted that I'm going to be teaching an 8-week online flash fiction writing course through the excellent London Lit Lab - it's open to both new and experienced writers, anywhere in the world. The course will start on July 23rd. Places are limited, and there are two subsidized places available. More details here - come flash with us!

Friday, May 01, 2020

5 day Short Story Challenge

In April the Arvon Foundation ran a 5-Day Short Story Challenge using daily prompts that I’d written to guide you through the drafting of a new short story. Over two thousand people took part, and there were such enthusiastic responses, it was a joy to see! If you missed it the first time – or if you did it already but would like another week of daily writing nudges – here’s your chance! I’m running it again myself, using the same prompts, from Monday May 11 – Friday May 15. Every day you will get an email with a writing prompt and reading material to kickstart your imagination. 

The cost to sign up is £5 – half of which is to provide me with a small amount of income, and half I will donate to Refuge, a charity which helps women and children experiencing domestic violence, something which has only increased during this lockdown. (I am also offering several free places, see below.)

Click here for more details and to sign up!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zoom online flash fiction workshop

How about a flash fiction online workshop to get the juices flowing? I'm running a 2-hour online flash fiction workshop for Arvon on May 28th, 11am - 1pm. It's open to all, no experience necessary, you'll end up with at least 3 new story drafts, so come and play! Booking details here:

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Zooming in

I have a piece today on Marina Benjamin's excellent new blog, 'Zooming In', about what I'm reading & noticing now that I'm staying so much closer to home. Here's a taster:

Barak and I had five days’ hard riding northwards since then, the roads in a bad state after that wet summer of 1541.
 Since the start of the lockdown, I have read three, and just started my fourth C J Sansom novel. The quote above is taken from the third, Sovereign. They’re set in the 16th century, and they’re crime thrillers featuring his trusty lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, and, in this book and the next, Shardlake’s assistant, Jack Barak. This is not, as anyone who knows me will tell you, my usual preferred reading material. What is it about the situation we find ourselves in that has drawn me to it? ...

Read the full piece here >> 

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Poetry Video: Play

I thought I'd read you another poem, and this time I figured out how to do it without having to hold the phone! Here's a little reminder of something we all need to do: 'Play', from my
Live Canon pamphlet, 'How High Did She Fly'. #InternationalPoetryCircle

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Stay-at-home Festival

I hope you are all safe and well. As all events in the outside world are being cancelled, I'm delighted to be taking part in the Stay At Home Online Festival: I'm doing an online reading from my new books at 2pm on Monday April 6th, and taking part in a panel on the creative process at 12pm on Thurs April 9th, and there are loads of other brilliant events already happening. Details here!  Come join in!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What do we do when the water rises

I thought I'd read you 'What do we do when the water rises', a poem from my collection, Terms & Conditions, which takes inspiration from the fire ant in times of crisis. #InternationalPoetryCircle

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Publication day!

Happy publication day to 'and what if we were all allowed to disappear', my hybrid book of poetry/prose/fiction/non-fiction, with the gold cover! Published today by Guillemot Press, and inspired by particle physics, it asks: ‘What does it mean to be in pieces? What might it mean to be whole?’

To find out more and buy a copy of the limited edition, click here:

And in a lovely coincidence, here I am reading a letter to my younger self, on the same day my 8th book is published! "The biggest thing I've learned: create community. Lift others. You may be lifted as a consequence, but don't make that your plan." You can listen here:

Monday, March 02, 2020

My stories on Stinging Fly Podcast

I was astonished to discover today that the wonderful Irish writer Cathy Sweeney is reading and discussing two of my short stories on the Stinging Fly literary magazine podcast. What an honour. And Cathy has a great conversation with the Stinging Fly's editor about genre boundaries, as well as reading one of her own fabulous stories. You can listen here if you'd like!

Monday, February 17, 2020

And what if we were all allowed to disappear

‪I never dreamed I'd have a book with a gold cover! The amazing Guillemot Press have made my particle-physics-inspired hybrid book, 'and what if we were all allowed to disappear', into this gorgeous sparkly object! It's a limited edition - for more info about the book and to pre-order, click here