Thursday, December 01, 2016

Arvon Starting To Write Course Aug 2017

I am really excited about co-tutoring on an Arvon 'Starting to Write' course for the first time, in August 2017! The three 5-day residential Arvon writing courses I went on over 10 years were quite literally life-changing, and it is a privilege to now be able to, I hope, pass some of that on. I had a great time tutoring Arvon's first flash fiction course this year, with the inimitable Dave Swann.

Next year, why not come and join me and my amazing co-tutor, Jo Bell, a great friend of mine, fantastic poet and teacher, at the wonderful Totleigh Barton in Devon - with our special guest, Inua Ellams, who is hard to describe because what doesn't he do? It doesn't matter what you write or want to write, it's about words in whatever shape they come! We will work hard, but we will also laugh, a lot. And eat clotted cream. It's Devon.

Here's a little more about the course, and we will have some news soon about funding we are organising to assist those who wouldn't normally be able to come on one of these courses...

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Jump-start your word-machine

GENRE: Starting to Write
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Totleigh Barton
Starting to write fiction, poetry or other forms raises questions: Write what? How to write? Why write at all? There are no rules, no simple answers, but during our week together we will write, read, talk and imagine, leaving you with tools to discover how your own peculiar and unique word-machine works, as well as new pieces and ideas to propel you forward.

More details on how to apply here >>

Sunday, November 20, 2016


If you're looking for a seasonal gift for the writer - or would-be writer - in your life, you might like a copy of Writing Short Stories: A Writers and Artists Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014), which I co-authored with the excellent Courttia Newland, and which includes short pieces from a number of fantastic short story writers in the middle, ideas for how to get your writing going and lists of our favourite short stories for more inspiration! You can get a signed copy from me here if you'd like (please do let me know in the message to the seller who to sign it to), with free postage in the UK. I am happy to post abroad too!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Science-Inspired Story on Radio 4 This Sunday

It's been one of the greatest thrills of my writing life, having my short stories read on the radio. This is how it all started for me, my first "published" short story was actually a broadcast, in 2003, on the Afternoon Reading on Radio 4. There have been quite a few more since then, and I have written especially for radio a number of times - and now I have a brand new story on Radio 4 this Sunday night, Aug 28th, which for the first time they have allowed me to read! It's produced by the excellent Jeremy Osborne for Sweet Talk Productions. It's called "There's No-One In The Lab But Mice", and you can hear it live at 7.45pm and it will be available on Listen Again for 28 days after that, I believe. I hope you enjoy it, I had a lot of fun writing it!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Enemies Project South West - Performance

There's this wonderful thing happening, The Enemies Project, where pairs of poets collaborate and then perform, all around the south-west of England, set up by Steven J Fowler and Camilla Nelson.

I was thrilled when Holly Corfield-Carr asked me to collaborate with her, and we will be performing our piece (which is still in progress) at the event in Bruton, Somerset, this Sunday night - do come along if you're near! Free entry, but booking is essential. Here's all the info:


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Closely read

It as an honour and a gift to be so closely read, by anyone, and then to have these readers (often writers themselves) share their thoughts. I'm fortunate to have had this experience twice in the past few weeks, first by Neil Elder, author of the poetry pamphlet Codes of Conduct and my fellow Sabotage Awards shortlistee (congratulations, Neil!) on his blog, Neil Elder Poetry, where he responds to my poem, Life Just Swallows You Up: "I’m laughing, then thinking and feeling, and then admiring. I’ve read ‘Life Just Swallows You Up’ and I immediately want to re-read".

The second, also around a poem from my chapbook, is the excellent Proletarian Poetry: Poetry of Working Class Lives. Peter Raynard asked if he could reprint my Conversations With A Taxi Driver, Falmouth, and he talks about what the poem raised for him: "This is a fascinating short poem because it leaves a lot to the imagination, allowing us to drift with our thoughts the same way a taxi driver must do when waiting on their next fare." 

Thank you, Neil and Peter, I hope I can pass on the favour of such close reading!