I recently submitted a short story to the MIROnline Folk Tale Festival competition and to my delight, I was one of the five finalists whose short stories were published and illustrated. I also read it to the audience at MIRLive – a wonderful evening was had by all, enjoying the folk music of Bity Booker and the various dark and thrilling stories that were read to us. We writers discussed the common threads we found in our folk tales: women and magic, violence, the way the world of superstition can suddenly intersect with the everyday.
Recently I recorded one of my short stories and sent it in to The Dark Outside. I was delighted when they told me they will be using it. It’s a very intriguing art project which broadcasts music, unusual sounds, stories and poetry in forests. This year, as part of the Peoples’ Forest project, it will be broadcasting from the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge on 87.7FM during the Summer Solstice – that’s 20th June from 12 noon until 12 noon on the 21st.
My story will be broadcast just before 11pm, so you if you go down to the woods tomorrow night you might meet me carrying a small transistor radio… Otherwise, if you live near Epping Forest you might be able to hear it from home. Apparently everything is deleted afterwards, so it’s a bit of a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
I’ve recently become involved with MIROnline as the Manager of their MIRLive event. It’s a spoken-word event, showcasing the best in creative writing. Performances involve new UK based writers alongside established authors. The event takes place twice termly at The Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF.
Our next event is on Monday 8th July at 7.30pm and you can read all about it here. It’s going to be a Folk Tale themed event with a reading by author Catherine Menon and live folk music by Bity Booker. Other readings will be from short stories submitted to the MIROnline Summer Folk Tale Festival.
It’s going to be a wonderful night, and it’s free! Please come along and support our amazing writers.
My short story, The Edge, has recently been published on the Short Editions website where it is part of a competition (including public votes). Winners will be published internationally in Short Editions’ ‘short story dispensers’, which I think are a wonderful idea.
It’s a story set in a caravan park in Dorset, which I originally wrote for a beach-themed competition, and explores heatwaves and teenage mood swings.Read it here and don’t forget to vote!
I’ve just joined the editorial team at Roman Road London as a book reviewer – it’s a great local website focusing on news, culture and events in the Roman Road area of East London.
My most recent book review is for Paintings by Doreen Fletcher, an artist who is a favourite of mine. I’m looking forward to reviewing more books about the history and culture of the area, so if you have a book you think I should review, let me know!
A new short story of mine, Hagstone, has been published in literary magazine Elixir. Elixir is an exciting new online magazine created and managed by passionate readers and writers and I’m delighted to be part of it.
The story was inspired by my habit of picking up pebbles with holes in them on Norfolk beaches. Later on I visited an exhibition about witchcraft in East London where I discovered the folklore around these pebbles and so a new short story was born.
I was recently interviewed by CLiKd, the dating agency for creatives, about my writing. They were interested in finding out how I found inspiration for my work and what gave me the most satisfaction as a writer.
I talked to them about my short stories, including Swing Me and Beneath the Skin, and poems. We also talked about how I quit my job in marketing to write full time, then was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to spend six months having surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy just before I started my studies for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck this time last year.
It’s not something I’d recommend to anyone, but cancer does concentrate the mind wonderfully and it has made me much more determined to focus on what’s important to me.
I’ve been fighting my way back (literally, in fact, I’ve just restarted my Muay Thai kickboxing lessons) and am starting to feel a lot more like myself.
It’s great to feel the side effects of treatment diminish and physical strength return, although I’m aware it’s a long and difficult journey.
I shared some book recommendations as well if you want something frightening to read for Halloween (or any time, in fact)!
I’m very happy to announce that my short story, The Edge, is on the Pin Drop Short Story Award longlist alongside work by some very wonderful writers. It’s a competition that was set up (by Pin Drop and the Royal Academy) for stories to be read aloud and as such a bit of a new venture for me, I’m delighted that my work has found its way onto the longlist.
The winning story will be read out by Gwendolen Christie of Game of Thrones fame! I’m a huge fan so I have to admit this would be my dream…..
If you would like to buy tickets to the awards ceremony they’re available here
I was asked recently if I would like to create some written work to accompany an art exhibition at Vout O Reenees by the artist Cheli Mula. It was a very inspirational project and I ended up writing poems to accompany Cheli’s art works.
One poem, Stations, is based on Cheli’s photographs of the things and places in the outside world a novice nun entering an enclosed convent told her she would miss the most.
My second poem, Commute, is inspired by Cheli’s photographs of eyes that were originally exhibited as billboards opposite each other in a railway station.
Very exciting news arrived in my inbox the other day – my work in progress, a novel, has been longlisted by Myriad Editions for their First Drafts competition.
First Drafts is an ‘annual event organised by Myriad to uncover exceptional new voices’. There are very few competitions that can be entered with a first draft or work in progress and apparently they had three times more entries than last year, so I’m very fortunate to be on the longlist!
I would love to win this competition, as the prize is a week-long writer’s retreat and editorial help as well as mentoring from an established author. But it’s an honour to be on the longlist in itself and makes me even more determined to stay on the path I’m on and continue writing full-time. Thank you to First Drafts for the amazing boost to my confidence as a writer.