Taught retreat in Italy

Posted: January 14th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

This is a great opportunity to practise and develop your creative writing whilst staying in the magnificent surroundings of Palazzo Donati. The villa is set away in Le Marche, central Italy. The residential course is led by award-winning author and professor of Creative Writing at London University, Russell Celyn Jones.

Stories, teaching and song cycles

Posted: July 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I haven’t written anything on here for a while so I thought I’d add some information about projects, new writing and creative writing courses.


Sara Colman

I was recently commissioned to write the narrative and contribute to the lyrics of a 45 minute Song Cycle looking at the issue of food crime – yep – food crime. If you’re not sure what food crime is then you can find out more here. The indefatigable Kate Cooper managed to persuade various agencies to fund the new writing and I’m honoured to be working with composer and singer Sara Colman to bring Kate’s gloriously madcap idea to fruition. The project is moving forward and the Song Cycle will be performed (with full choir and added stagecraft) at Birmingham MAC in May 2016. Watch this space.

I have also been commissioned  to write a short story by West Midlands Readers’ Network. Each year, five or six writers meet with a local reading group to discuss narrative elements they might like in a short story. I attended my meeting last night and met with the lovely readers of north Leamington in the Fox and Vivian pub. WMRN website explains the process:

We pair a regional writer with a regional reading group and fix a date for them to meet. During that initial session the group discuss a wish-list of themes and ideas they want to see in their completed short story. Then, after tea and cake and some gentle haggling we set the clock ticking as the writers produce the bespoke short story.

Then, at the end of the summer when six short stories have been written and the writers have emerged, we publish them in a gorgeous anthology. The anthology is showcased at our Seven Minute Stories event at Library of Birmingham where the writers read extracts of their stories, and talk about the process of writing them.

So–with the short story, Song Cycle, final tweaks on the new novel and off to teach at The Writers’ Lab on sunny Skyros next week–I’m having a busy summer.


Posted: November 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Nice news item about the Coventry Words launch a couple of weeks ago.

You-Dont-Have-to-SayI also wanted to have a big shout about Alan Beard’s wonderful collection of short stories, You Don’t Have To Say, that has just had a ringing endorsement from Francesca Segal in The Guardian. I got hold of a signed copy at the launch (we are in the same writing group) and devoured the collection in one sitting. Fabulous. Buy it.

Also another Tindal Street Fiction Group writer, Amanda Smyth, has just won the First Novel Award in France, for her wonderfully evocative novel Black Rock, this after being shortlisted for the Prix Femina. Congratulations Amanda. Very well deserved:)