28th March 2017

I’ve been a little absent recently, and it’s time to explain myself. After a great chunk of my life spent working with writers – coaxing their words out of them, reading their words, tweaking their words, talking about their words – I’ve decided it’s time to change things a little. So instead of being firmly […]

26th February 2016

Good on Beth Miller for writing about rejection head on. This part of the job description is unlikely to be the reason you sat down to be a writer in the first place, but, then, this is no longer just about you. This is about the whimsical and shifting land of publishing getting what it wants […]

15th October 2015

I spent last Friday talking about archaeology, laser scanning, rotary ditchers, otters and fish (amongst other things). But, actually, the point wasn’t to talk about these things but to write about them. It was a writing workshop, and my ‘students’ were all people who get to do real things out in the real world. Still, […]

22nd May 2015

Bad writing can be just what you need when you’re on a mission to write well. So my editing workshop for Brighton University’s Creative Writing MA students kicked off, after a few softer preliminaries, with the dissection of a very small chunk of what we could comfortably call ‘bad’ writing’. It was neither theirs nor […]

30th April 2015

Sustaining creativity. Those are two quite abstract words to describe what is actually (in this context) just a case of sitting down and writing. For a while now I’ve been thinking I should put together a kind of one-page instruction manual on the subject, but of course life kept getting in the way. Then last night […]

15th April 2015

Some people spend years working on their first novel. They can’t leave it alone, and it won’t leave them alone; it drags them down, and it stops them sleeping. But these people keep up the pretence of a normal life until, a decade or so later, they just might have something approximating a novel. And […]

26th March 2015

There was once a writer who really knew how to write a story. She had won prizes for the way she wrapped her words up in just a few pages and made the whole thing shine. But she didn’t think she’d rest until her stories had lined up neatly and taken on the guise of […]

12th September 2013

Publication day. Now that’s a day to forget. Throughout my years in publishing it’s always struck me as the oddest thing. From almost the moment a book becomes a glint in the editor’s eye, the date of publication accompanies talk of higher, more literary concerns

24th July 2013

I’ve always thought marriages work best when duties are clearly divided, with as little grey area in the middle as possible. Or rather that’s what I’ve thought since living with my husband (which, for logistical reasons, came after being married) and having to negotiate shared responsibilities. So for a while now – and despite the […]

7th June 2013

I’ve just finished my official Spread the Word mentorship (if such a word exists) of Cityread‘s Young Writer in Residence 2013, Jay Bernard. Jay is primarily a poet – and a very good one at that – and I’m neither a poet nor an editor of poetry. I’m much more comfortable when sentences follow each other in an orderly […]