A recent article in The Guardian caused some controversy by suggesting that writing is an elite activity because it requires two things: time and space. Of course, both those things will often require money, meaning that as Lynn Steger Strong suggests, you can only be a writer if you can afford it. I’m not saying […]

Knowing that I would be writing my dissertation on Daisy Johnson’s beautiful Fen, it was good luck that I recently went to an event at Waterstones on Gower Street (clearly the best Waterstones in London) and heard Molly Aitken talk about her debut novel, The Island Child. Set on a remote Irish island, The Island […]

Look, I’m going to be honest here: I’m no short story competition expert. Of the 20+ competitions I have entered in the past year and a half, I’ve had exactly 0 successes – longlist, shortlist, somewhere-in-between-list. No luck. But I haven’t given up, and I continue to methodically and strategically apply to short story competitions, […]

It’s taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts about Bernadine Evaristo’s Booker Prize winning novel. Spanning generations, characters, histories and continents, Girl, Woman, Other follows the interconnected stories of mostly black, mostly British mostly women as they navigate their lives and learn how to accept themselves in different ways. Some characters are firecrackers […]

I read My Year of Rest and Relaxation over a couple of days while I was ill last week, and there’s definitely something quite claustrophobic and nightmarish about certainly the story of a woman trying to sleep for a year, while you yourself are unwell and sleeping a lot. I had been wanting to read […]

It took me a while to get into the stories of Fen by Daisy Johnson, and then it took me a little while to get out of them again. Reading these stories is like getting lost in the blurry, muddy fenland that Johnson is writing about. At some point you begin to question what is […]

In the gloomy, dark January in which I have been doing Dry-January-Veganuary-No-Planuary (fun!), I’ve been finding myself reaching for a book more often than ever, and making good headway into my 2020 reading plans. Someone I follow on Instagram recently said that they felt like reading could sometimes seem like a competition where everyone is […]

Sometimes you want to read something easy, fun and light-hearted. In may ways it’s funny that I chose a book about a serial killer in order to fulfil this. I’m sure you’ve all heard that My Sister, the Serial Killer is all of these things and more – it’s short and snappy, darkly funny and […]

In the interest of being honest and open, and sharing my entire writing journey here on my blog, I suppose I should say that I have started working (mainly thinking) on a new novel! It’s really exciting, but something in me hesitates to talk openly about it, simply because it is still all so new […]

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything as creepy, compelling and utterly bizarre as Samanta Schweblin’s collection of short stories, Mouthful of Birds. From the titular story about a father who discovers his daughter’s compulsion to eat live birds, to stories about fanatical hair-plucking women and the lengths a couple will go to get […]