I began writing stories as soon as I could put pen to paper. In our house, stories, poems and ditties made up on the hoof were the order of the day. I loved reading, too and remember Enid Blyton’s Naughty Amelia Jane read to me at bedtime when I was little. There was a story for any possible naughtiness I might do. My mum would pretend to be too busy to finish a chapter and leave the book on my bed. Desperate to know what happened, I would snatch it up and try to make out the words - this was how I learned to read!
My love of literature continued through adolescence – in the 1970s and 1980s the glittering banquet of teenage fiction we have today was not available. Rather, I cut my teeth on the classics: Daphne du Maurier, the Brontes, Jane Austen, William Golding, D.H. Lawrence, Dickens, Shakespeare, Milton etc. From them I would begin to learn my craft. I am still learning!
After completing a degree in Fine Art at Leeds Met (then Poly) and spending some years working as a painter and decorator, propmaker, care assistant and statue restorer, I published two novels, Meru - Castle of Dreams, 1996, and Russian Dolls - Insignia Press, 2000; several novellas and, more recently, three collections of short stories with Skrev Press. My short stories have also been published by MsLexia magazine, Route, Leaf Books, Cinnamon and other small press concerns.
Fiction is now my full time job! I write books for adults and children and lecture in Creative Writing for the Open University, which is a job I love! I am just beginning a new novel, which, at the moment is called 'The Calendar House' - this is a new departure for me as it combines creative non fiction with fiction and stars some real life characters from Halifax past and present. Watch this space!
I am also at the final stage of my PhD in Creative writing and have recently completed a new novel for this called 'When I am Laid in Earth'. Check out my designated page to see what I am up to!
My novel for adults, Amelia and the Virgin is on sale in all decent bookshops, like The Bookcase, the fabulous independent store in Hebden Bridge: http://www.bookcase.co.uk/
and at online bookshops, including Amazon:
or order from:
I will be reading from my illustrated PhD novel, When I am Laid in Earth
at a panel at the NAWE conference at the Park Inn, York - 10-12th
November; I will also be talking on another panel about teaching the new
Open University MA.
am now co-hosting a fortnightly radio show 'Talk Sunday' show which
airs 4-6pm. Two hours of witter, waffle and jolly good music!
Catch us on: http://www.phoenixfm.co.uk or Pheonix 96.7FM
On 6th July, 4-6pm I will be co-chairing, with fellow
crime writer, Joanne Reardon an event at Newcastle's 'English Shared
Futures' conference at the Lit and Phil. My Paper, 'Thriller Women',
looks at the Domestic Noir phenomenon and the role of women as writers,
readers, and of course fictional victims in this popular sub genre.
Joanne is talking about the landscapes of crime. We are running a crime
writing workshop afterwards. Tickets are available from
I am currently organising three events the Open University at Senate House, UCL and on 14th March 2017 will be reading from my new novel:
Over the summer of 2016 I worked as academic
consultant on a series of 3 BBC programs on genre fiction. The first
episode of the series called: 'Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes' will air on: Monday 17 October 2016, 2100, 60 mins. Episodes 2 and 3 are expected to appear weekly thereafter.
I am videoing the exciting Poetry Nites sessions, which
are taking place every few weeks. Next up, a special event with
poetrynites director and
host, Sarah Corbett, Eleanor Rees and Mona Arshi reading from their new
books with Pavilion Poetry, the new poetry imprint from Liverpool
University Press, edited by Deryn Rees-Jones. Sarah will read from her
verse-novel, And She Was, Eleanor from her third collection, Blood
Child, and Mona from her debut collection, Small Hands. Not to be
missed. @ The Bookcase, Hebden Bridge on 21st May. See Facebook for videos of the last sessions.
I shall be talking part in no less than 3 panels at the NAWE conference in November 2014 - watch this space!
28th May 2014 - To celebrate the Launch of my friend and fellow MMU MA survivor, Ruth Owen's debut novel Into Dusk, I will be reading from my novel in progress, When I am Laid in Earth, at 'An Evening of Readings' at the International Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester - 7-9.30pm - . We have a wonderful evening of readings and discussion in store so please come along!
28th -31st July 2014 - I will be running Creative writing sessions at the John Hewitt Summer School from Monday 28July – Friday 1 August 2014 in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh. Check out the website for more details: http://johnhewittsociety.org/summer-school/
On 29th April, I went down to Milton Keynes on its 45th Anniversary (from receiving its Royal Charter) to receive a national teaching award for 'excellence in teaching and creative approaches to pedagogy using new technologies' A very exciting event. Here I am with award, and Martin Bean, the Vice Chancellor of the OU.
Following the launch of Magical Strangers
last month, poet, Sarah Corbett and I have received some Arts Council
funding to develop our collaborative prose/poetry project. We are creating a third text for performance from my novel in progress, When I am laid in Earth, and Sarah's verse novel, Dreamriser, Check out our blog for updates ...
Launch of Weird Love!
On November 7th, the new Pandril Press collection, Weird Love was launched at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. Edited by Dave Chadwick and myself, the collection includes stories from Megan Taylor,Daithidh
MacEochaidh, Sylvia Christie, Ruth Owen, Shirley Morgan and Deborah Kermode as well as the familiar Pandril authors.