It's hard to explain how excited and thrilled I am to be able to say that my first novel will be published by Freight Books. After the End of England will be coming to a book shop near you in Spring 2017.
More updates to follow, but for now I have to continue jumping for joy and shrieking with excitement.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend some time in Cognac with a great bunch of creative friends. With their help, I made this little film from an excerpt of the book I've just finished writing. Hope you enjoy it.
Has published a short story I wrote called Coming Home!
Number Eleven is a new online literary journal that publishes short stories, flash fiction, graphic novel artwork and illustrations. It's published quarterly.
This story is taken from my novel after the end of england.
You should go to Number Eleven's site and have a read!
I am pleased to say that a short story taken from the novel I have recently finished was longlisted for the Write Idea 2014 Short Story prize, part of East London's reading festival.
The story I submitted is called The Tide Turned, and focuses on Martha who is coming to terms with her husband's dementia.
I'm pleased to say that I've just finished another book, After the End of England.
I wrote this one in a very different way. Whereas normally I would spend months planning the story out, with this one, I wrote it chapter by chapter with no set idea of what was going to happen before I started writing.
The novel was inspired by a short story that was inspired by a painting a friend of mine did. And over the course of the winter, I sent him chapters as I wrote them, also unusual as I don't normally let anybody read my work until I'm certain it's finished. It was an interesting and very freeing way of working and I'm quite pleased with the results.
After the End of England is a love story to the sea. Set it Dover, it is told using split narratives though the voice of Martha Roberts and those closest to her. It explores themes of womanhood, family, relationships and community, as well as the devastating onslaught of physical and mental illness that test those caught in the undertow.
When Martha fell off the pier in Dover, aged eight, she had no idea how it would come to shape and define her. The sea becomes the place where she first proves herself, where she demonstrates that she is remarkable, that she can make the ordinary extraordinary, where she will first attempts to swim the Channel.
A constant companion, the seam moves in and out of view, from the 1940s to present day, from her first accidental baptism, to her last wet.
The sea is an escape from Martha's responsibilities as a wife and mother, causing her to question her marriage, her home, and the choices she makes. The sea creates distance, separating her from her husband and children. Yet, it consoles her when she is diagnosed with cancer, and comforts her when dementia unravels her husband's mind. The sea is also a bridge, connecting her with the granddaughter she almost didn't meet.
Through the lens of Martha's life, we see the loss of one woman's position and how she reclaimed it. We see an England that was or perhaps never was. What binds the different first-person narratives is the overpowering presence of nature and time, the power of the seam to make connections and undo them over generations.
It's great to have had an email saying I'd been shortlisted, but it's even better to see my name on the list of those who've been shortlisted for the 2013 short story prize.
“Mention the Bridport Prize and the eyes of writers everywhere light up. It's not just the money - though that's not to be sneezed at - it's a prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment”
Fay Weldon CBE, patron of the Bridport Prize
As I was waiting in the queue at the Wetherspoon's at Gatwick, I happened to check my email and was delighted to find that a story I'd submitted has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.
This year they had about 5,800 entries and around 100 were shortlisted. The story I submitted, called Safety in Numbers, is based on the novel I'm currently writing about a woman who hires a stalker.
The Bridport Prize International Creative Writing Competition was founded in 1973 and receives entries from all over the world.