Bare Fiction competition win

Last month I was thrilled to hear that I’d won the Bare Fiction short story prize. For those who don’t know, Bare Fiction is a wonderful literary magazine that’s been going a few years. The pieces in it are very, very well-written and I’ve discovered many fantastic new authors by reading this. It’s also quite high-profile, attracting some very well-known names both as contributors and judges for the competition. This year the short story entries were judged by Courttia Newland, which gives you a sense of how thrilled I was to hear I’d won!

more...

News – City Writes

All the way back in March, I entered the City Writes short courses competition. This is a regular competition open to everyone who’s studied on one of the City Writes short courses. City offers loads of these creative writing courses throughout the year, and I’d always fancied going on one. They’re run in the evenings, so fit nicely in around a day job. In 2013 I got my act together and enrolled on their wonderful short story course. It’s probably what really sparked my interest in short stories!

Anyway, I was very pleased to hear that I’d been selected as one of the competition winners! Along with three other winners and the amazing Emma Claire Sweeney (who tutors City Writes Novel Studio course), I was invited to give a reading at City’s competition event.

more...

Submitting your writing

As it happens, I’ve been reading a lot of short story submissions recently – some of them as a judge for the wonderful Hysteria short story competition and others for a number of courses and publication opportunities.

So what’s leapt out at me from all this? A lot of mental notes for the number of ways “housekeeping” issues can result in wonderful writing failing to make it onto a longlist or shortlist. There are hundreds of “How to win short story competition” blogs out there and I’m not convinced of the utility of these. The real answer – write a good short story – is not, perhaps terribly helpful…

So, most of these tips have nothing to do with the quality of the writing. I’m not sure that it’s possible to teach people how to write a good story, and I’m certain that I shouldn’t be the teacher. But here are the other tips – the ones that’ll stop even your best story from winning, being accepted or being shortlisted. Most of them will seem like common sense, but I find that sometimes my common sense needs an explicit reminder.

more...

“Love Across a Broken Map” launch

I’m a member of The Whole Kahani, a collective of South Asian writers. Earlier last year, we are approached by Dahlia Publishing to put stories forward for an anthology that the press was considering putting out.

We workshopped quite a number of stories, and although not all of them could be included, finally came up with what I think is a pretty good, thematically consistent collection. The overarching theme was “love, longing and friendship” – so a fairly wide range of stories could be considered eligible!

Once the stories had been workshopped, Dahlia Press considered our list, and put together a working copy of the anthology. After a good few iterations, we’re proud to have had the launch of The Whole Kahani’s first anthology: Love Across a Broken Map!

more...

Words and Women

And to continue catching up, way back in March I was very pleased to be included in the third Words and Women anthology. These showcase the work of women writers in the east of England, and are published by Unthank books.

more...

Creative Writing MA

So it’s been a very long time since I posted anything here – long enough for me to have forgotten how to actually log in!

So what’s been happening since then?

more...

Fugue II anthology launch

Friday was the launch of the Fugue II anthology, from Siren Press. The editor, Lucy, organised a fantastic evening of reading, wine, nibbles and – of course – books, at Enitharmon Editions in London.

Fugue I had some wonderful reviews from, amongst others, Sabotage Reviews. Reading the other stories on the tube home, Fugue II seems a worthy successor. The stories include a macabre and beautiful Northern-set tale of an abbatoir, a zombie outbreak, Edvard Munch, a lesson plan gone wrong and a dream house that is far from what it seems. As well as me, the other authors are Catherine McNamara, Sally Oliver, Clare Fisher, Brandon Robshaw, Darren Lee, L.D. Lapinski and Alyson Hallett. Very pleased to be in their company!

more...

Updates and catching up

So this blog has been languishing for far too long, reaching for its smelling salts and swooning at the touch of fresh air. Hopefully this will be just the pick-me-up it needs to start pulling its socks up and being a decent member of society.

So what’s been happening since the last update?

more...

Midsummer Opera performance

A very belated update, but a few weeks ago I played in the Midsummer Opera performance of Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del West. It was held at St John’s Church in Waterloo, which is an absolutely beautiful venue. The acoustics are great (why do I always want to spell that with two ‘c’s?), and the church...

more...

Willesden Herald Short Story Results and Launch

Last night I went to the results and launch event of the Willesden Herald Short Story Prize 2014, and a Good Time Was Had By All ™. Some of the stories were performed by the Liars’ League which is a liaison between professional actors and short story writers. They have branches in London, Hong Kong, New York and Leicester, so if you’re globe-trotting then do check them out!

My story Rock Pools was read by the lovely Helen Belbin, who brought a depth of perspective and realism to it that blew me away.

more...