Writing and Shit – part 46 – When is then?

The simplest form of then is a date. If you put down 13th November 1866 at the top of the first page, your job afterwards (unless you’re writing steampunk or time-travel fiction) is only to include in the story what really existed on or by that date. Supposedly. The same goes for 13th November 2019. […]

Impatience – A short story

Today, some good news – a short story of mine, ‘Impatience,’ has been longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. It’s the impatient version of my novel, Patience, which will come out in August 2019. The story is very similar, in both, but also – I hope – radically different. Readers who are curious about […]

How to Tell a Story to Save the World

Normally, when people come along to a creative writing class, they are hoping to learn how to write better, not how to save the planet. A couple of years ago, I was teaching a Guardian Masterclass on ‘Storytelling Secrets’. Among those attending were three representatives of an international environmental activist network. They were young, casually stylish, energetic […]

If Libraries Die

(This was given as a talk to the Friends of West Norwood Library, at their Annual General Meeting, on Saturday 7th June, 2014 – in a sun-baked room in the West Norwood temporary library. Copper nicked from the roof and ongoing conversion to a Ritzy Cinema have closed West Norwood Library for months.) Stand-up comedians have the […]