Thursday, April 4, 2019

Backstory: Reflections on this Month's Theme for Stories at the Storey

Meeting deadlines is as soothing to me as a creamy cup of flavoured coffee. Checking a project off of my mental to-do list settles me. Maybe it’s the rewards; the gifts I give myself of more time, kind words, a new pen, or other special treat that makes an upcoming deadline feel a bit like Christmas.

I love Christmas.

Maybe it’s just how my mind works. Deadlines mean I’m working towards a goal. Meeting them brings me one project, book, word, paper, or person closer to that goal. I don’t get particularly excited by finishing a project before the deadline. Like a regular cup of coffee, beating a deadline does nothing for my mood.

The rush I feel from meeting a deadline gives me something I need each and every time.
The theme for March’s Stories at the Storey was deadlines. When I started writing my creative nonfiction essay, I knew I was going to write about my passion for deadlines. Mentally I crafted sentences with dizzying lines to convey the sheer slivers of joy.

I could hear the words, picture myself reading them. I just couldn’t, when it came down to it, write them. Instead, what came out was a personal essay about I do’s and I can’ts; of exes and nos; of beginnings and endings. I planned to write about writing deadlines and instead wrote about living them.

Like deadlines, sharing true stories gives me something I need, even when I don’t know what that something is at the time.  

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Catching Up: Notes on The Train or About Me

It’s been a long time since I’ve written something for my blog. I’ve been so busy living life that I didn’t take time to write about living life. Writing keeps me centered. It’s something I do because I want to do it just as much as I need to do it. So much of my time lately is spent in between places. If there were frequent rider miles on the train, I would be saving them for a summer holiday, a good book, or a creamy cup of coffee with French Vanilla creamer.

To avoid the temptation of working on the train and then working when I get to work, I’m going to write on the train. Isn’t writing work? Yes.

Since my last post, I’ve started as Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries at Sheffield Hallam University, Remembered is out in the world (UK and worldwide except the US and Canada-- date forthcoming), Remembered has made the long list for the prestigious Women’s Prize in Fiction, I’ve received some exciting news about a fellowship to research my second novel, and my friend Naomi and I are developing a podcast to share true stories like we do at Stories at the Storey, our live true-story open mic night. We are looking to grow North West Literary Arts and reach more people in more places.

I won’t post more than I’m comfortable with. I’ll write about projects I’m working on, what I’m writing, books I’m reading, places I’m traveling to and from, and interesting things I see on my commute to or from work. I’ll also post about things other writers are doing, where I might be reading, and opportunities.

Here are some reviews:

I know there are lots of really interesting reviews on Instagram and Twitter. I haven't linked to those (mainly because I don't have the links). So if you have a review to share, let me know. 

Should you let me know about negative reviews? No thanks, I've probably seen them already and if I haven't, I'll see them when I'm meant to.

I’ve also been talking about Remembered. If you’d like to read interviews, here are some links:

The Guardian (article on narratives, slavery, importance of history)

To listen to interviews, podcasts

BBC Radio Lancashire Arts and Culture Show with Maria Felix Vas and Sushil Chudasama
BBC Radio Sheffield with Rony Robinson

If you want to know more about me, here's my TEDx talk

What’s next?

September 2019: I have three titles in Ladybird Tales of Superheroes 

I’m writing a new short story. I like writing about love in its many forms. The story I’m writing now started as a love story. While it isn’t ending up as I thought it would, I’m enjoying the turns the story takes.

I'm developing a script series. I really want to see a show where a diverse cast of women my age look for and find love. I had at first pictured this project as a play. I still want to write a play but that may have to wait for a different story. We'll see.

I’m also writing for children: I love mystery and fantasy. Growing up I imagined myself as the main character. I want to create a story where diverse characters have every day and fantastical adventures.

Want to get in touch?

If you would like to invite me to your event, festival, etc…please contact my publicist Millie Seaward or my agent, Elise Dillsworth

Projects I’m interested in developing, creating

Writing (creative nonfiction, short stories, script, games, radio drama)
Literary Events
Literary Festivals
Voiceover acting
Collaborating on a short-story film

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Call for True Stories (Paid) for Podcast

Stories at the Storey is proud to announce the beginning of a new adventure! We are calling on writers from all across the community to submit their true stories to us for the exciting opportunity to be featured in the pilot episode of our new podcast. We are looking to establish the same intimacy, warmth and passion present in any good storytelling that comes from the heart. Submissions can be on any theme; the only conditions are that they must be your story to tell and they must be creative non-fiction. For further guidance on what creative non-fiction might look like, The New Yorker, Brevity, The Real Story, and Creative Nonfiction have good examples.

Submissions should be approximately 750 words (3-5 sides of A4) so that if your work is selected, it can be read aloud in a five-minute time slot. Please specify with your submission whether you would be happy to read your story should you be selected, or if you would prefer one of our team to read it for you. It would also be a great help if you could tell us how you found out about NWLA.

If you are selected, we are aiming to hold an informal two-hour recording event in the near future in order for all the stories to be read aloud and recorded; there will be compensation in the form of £20 for your time and effort, including for those who may not be able to attend the live recording of their work. We will contact the selected writers on an individual basis to confirm these details nearer the time.

Even if you are not selected this time, we ask you not to be disheartened as we will be making more podcast episodes in the future and we only have a limited number of slots available. You will receive feedback on your submission regardless of whether it is selected or not. We will also be following up every submission with the option of being added to a mailing list for future opportunities if and when they arise, so keep an eye out for this.

Most importantly, we aim to publish as many voices and stories as possible. We are an inclusive podcast. Our mission is to increase representation across age, gender, sexuality, religion, class, region, ethnicity, nationality, ability, and more. With this in mind, we would like for you to tell us a little bit about how you identify yourself when you submit, in order to help us reach our aims of diversified content.

We hope that this information enables everyone to feel comfortable expressing themselves and representing their stories however they wish. We are thrilled to be able to work side by side with the community in this endeavour and are looking forward to hearing from you. Happy writing!

Submissions to be emailed to:

Deadline for submissions or expressions of interest: 18th February 2019

Podcast launch event: Week of 18th March, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

Remembered: Lancaster Launch

Over the past five years I have organized book launches, readings, writing panels, open mic nights, writing workshops, interviews, and creative experiences in between. Now, I'm planning my own launch event and I don't think I could be more excited!

We are launching Remembered on February 1 at Waterstones King Street in Lancaster. The date means a lot to me. A few years ago, my friend Naomi and I launched North West Literary Salon. The salon was a monthly literary experience featuring writers from across (usually) the North West. The writers read from their work, shared their writing paths, and answered our questions. We had musicians and food and the atmosphere was warm and engaging. It was a welcoming event. I absolutely loved the salons and miss them tremendously.

The launch is an opportunity for me to thank Waterstones, Lancaster, and audiences past, present, and future for supporting my events and creativity. It's a thank you for sharing their time and space and for making me feel welcomed. I couldn't think of a better place to launch my book.

The event is free. There will be food and I'm hoping music. I haven't sorted out the food yet but have reserved a table at The Crypt in Lancaster. I'm hoping you'll join me there (drinks not included). I'm told by the time we arrive, they will know how to make Raspberry Martinis. 

I'm looking forward to introducing you to my characters and their world, to hearing and answering your questions, and to celebrating with you. Please order your free ticket via Eventbrite (I love numbers) and if you're so inclined, feel free to pre-order the book here or here. Although the book comes out February 7, Waterstones King Street will have copies on the 1st. 

Thanks for everything and looking forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Call for True Stories, November's Stories at the Storey

Myths are all around us. Their plots underpin our origins, our stories. They shape how we view ourselves and the world around us. They travel with us, through us, in spite of us. Through myths we learn and tell our own stories. We also learn through mistakes: the ones we make and the ones others make.
This month Stories at the Storey’s celebrates with two themes: myths and mistakes (both loosely interpreted). We’re looking for stories about mythical beings, events, places, things, origins and endings.  We're also looking for stories about mistakes you have made or been impacted by, mistakes you've learned from, and even mistakes you make time and time again. 
The themes are open to your interpretation. 
What am I writing about? I'm not sure. I'm fascinated with origin stories and the ways we invent and reinvent ourselves I may write about that. What are you writing?
If you have a true story to share, email ( to sign up for your 3-5-minute (2-4 pages A4) open-mic slot.

Not sure you're ready to read your true story? That’s fine too. Come by and listen. If you would like to share a story but want us to offer some feedback, get in touch. We can help you get your story ready.

When: Thursday, November 29, 7-8 PM
Where: Printroom Café, Lancaster

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day 31 of 31 Days of Prose: Everything to Play Part II

The final segment of the story and of my project 31 Days of Prose. I hope you've enjoyed listening as much as I have enjoyed reading and sharing the pieces.

Please feel free to post your own readings any time of the year (especially for your birthday) and let me know. I'm looking forward to hearing your writing brought to life.

Thank you for helping me celebrate!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Day 30 of 31 Days of Prose: Everything to Play Part I

Part one of a short story written as part of Manchester's First Draft, the piece was commissioned and read as part of a project responding to archives in the Manchester Jewish Museum. 

Backstory: Reflections on this Month's Theme for Stories at the Storey

Meeting deadlines is as soothing to me as a creamy cup of flavoured coffee. Checking a project off of my mental to-do list settles me. ...