I love reading and doing my best to help other writers become the best writers they can be. I do this through teaching (I’ve taught in schools, arts centres, as part of festivals, and in women’s prisons) as well as through mentoring and editing writers via Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and freelance. I’ll be teaching a six week Creative Writing short course at The Bowery in Leeds starting on 26th June, 6.30 – 8.30pm. If you’d like me to take a look in your work or run a workshop, feel free to get in touch.
I also run a monthly writer’s critique group, WordlabLeeds. This is free, informal and – life, the universe, etc permitting – fun. We meet at The Tetley Bar and Kitchen at 6.30pm, usually on a Tuesday. We read and comment on each other’s work. When I say ‘we’ I mean a fluid collection of fiction writers, poets, creative non-fiction writers, life writers. If you’d like to come along, check out the Facebook page on the link above.
A big part of writing is, of course, reading.
Books I’ve read recently and LOVED include the following:
GRIEF IS A THING WITH FEATHERS, Max Porter (is it a novel? is it a poem? Who cares? It’s brilliant).
ANIMALS, Emma-Jane Unsworth (Novel. Hilarious. Featuring excellently outrageous women).
HELL-GOING, Lynn Coady (Short stories. Funny. Sad. Each story a punch to the gut).
SUDDENLY A KNOCK AT THE DOOR, Etgar Keret (short stories. Some v. short. All v. surreal).
THE END OF DAYS, Jenny Erpenbeck (Novel. Ever thought ‘what if x hadn’t happened? If only …?’ This book explores such questions in the most clever and elegant of ways).
IMAGINARY CITIES, Darran Anderson (Non-fiction. Hard to explain apart from to say that it will blow your literary socks off. And I’m not just saying that because it’s published by Influx, honest…)
Books that made me*:
Everything by Lorrie Moore, Lydia Davis, Zadie Smith and Ali Smith
HOW FICTION WORKS, James Wood
NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU, Miranda July
THE HISTORY OF LOVE, Nicole Krauss
BRAND NEW ANCIENTS and HOLD YOUR OWN by Kate Tempest
FREEDOM, Jonathan Franzen
DEAR EVERYBODY, Michael Kimball
THE BELL JAR, Sylvia Plath
*Books have an effect on you, as both a writer and a person, whether you notice it or not. These are just a few of the books which have stuck with me over time, which I frequently return to and/or which helped me through a particular time in my life.