A new Doc

I think I might have a Phd. I mean I’m not sure because I haven’t worn a weird hat or been given a certificate, but I have been congratulated – a lot. It’s been lovely. I’ve drunk Prosecco and people have said nice things and I have demurred. ‘It’s only in Creative Writing,’ I say, […]

The 365 club

I am trying to edit a novel, as I may have mentioned. I am also teaching a couple of courses this term and have various other projects on the go so it seemed the perfect time to learn something new. I have wanted to learn how to write poetry for ages now. I wrote terrible […]

Welcome to my new website.

Very happy to welcome you to my newly upgraded website with thanks to Ben Kellerman for creating the clean design I wanted.  In spite of my maximalist nature – which is messy and a little magpie like – I do like simplicity – in websites, fashion and design. I am a little bored of it […]


And so here we are again procrastinating. I could clean my house which looks like all the Wild Weird of my imagination have rioted through every room – trying on every piece of clothing available (we have a lot) then dropping them randomly in inappropriate places. (I don’t want to accept a more mundane explanation […]

Beginning again

 I like new beginnings. As a kid I was always starting new resolutions – ‘from now on I’m going to be…I was always a mixture of earnest striving to be better and a rather mulish ‘quite happy the way I am so bugger off and leave me alone.’  I wanted to be different, ‘better’ but I […]

Doing it

The other day I was asked for my do’s and don’ts when writing for children. I resisted, with difficulty, the obvious reply – don’t write for children (or at least not if you seek an easy, lucrative living) and attempted to say something sensible. It was more difficult than I thought. So off the top of my head: […]

Plumbing the Depths

I teach creative writing. There, I’ve said it. I feel as if I have confessed to something best kept secret because sometimes I feel that there all together too many books out there and we don’t need any more. Specifically I feel that there are all together too many books out there that aren’t mine and I’m not […]

I could be barking up the wrong tree

From the window of my study I can see the top of a chestnut tree. (Actually that’s a lie because to my shame I don’t know what type of tree it is, but I know that in writing it is always better to be specific.) I spend all together too much time looking at this tree and […]

How not to be popular

Unless you’ve been doing a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ for the last ten years you probably know that the web is awash with writing advice. Some of it is brilliant and some of it will make you want to murder the writer as energetically as I destroy my inner critic. One of the perennials is ‘your characters ought to be […]