Writers Rebel – a speech for Extinction Rebellion

Last night I introduced Clare Farrell, one of the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion, at the second Writers Rebel event. The first event took place last October, on Trafalgar Square, where 40 writers – including Ali Smith, Robert Macfarlane and Susie Orbach – read and gave speeches. At the event, I read Blake’s ‘What is the […]

Writing and Shit – part 28 – Non-stories, the Eiffel Tower and North Korea

Here is a non-story. A waiter works in the café at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Every smoking break, he goes and looks at the view. Afterwards, he goes back inside the café and continues serving customers. Here is a story. An old Korean woman who lives in North Korea has a […]

Writing and Shit – Part 1 – What Type of Writer Are You?

Either/Or/Or I am guessing you are one of three sorts of writer. Does this sound like you? You have hundreds of ideas. You have dozens of opening sentences. You have lots and lots of half-stories. You have a few stories that have even reached what you once hoped was the end, but which turned out merely […]

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 […]

STARTING TO WRITE – Lesson 8: Exposition and how to avoid it

You may have heard that common piece of advice from Creative Writing workshops ‘Show, don’t tell’, and you have have wondered what it meant. Or you may know. Here is an example of telling – Sara was born in May 1996. Ten years later her mother published her first novel. It was called Jumping Jumping. There […]

At The Playground You Meet Someone Amazing – A new short story

My mother had a stroke. Luckily, it was quite minor. She was still able to read, though more slowly. There was a gap in her vision – an absence where sight simply didn’t take place. Because of this, she wasn’t able to drive. My mother’s stroke changed our family. None of her children had started […]