I’m a writer of short stories and novels. My short fiction has been published by The Mechanics’ Institute Review, Cinnamon Press, Mslexia, the Momaya Annual Review, Hysteria 2, and shortlisted for Fish and Bridport. Recent work has been longlisted in the 2017 Mslexia Novel Competition, and highly commended in the 2017 Manchester Writing Prize.
I’m currently working on my second novel, set in the Congo in the early twentieth century. I was delighted recently when the opening chapters were shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize, judged by literary agent Broo Doherty. My previous novel, The Ash Zone – inspired by living in Beijing in 1979/80 – won the 2011 Yeovil Prize.
When I venture into the real world, I run creative writing workshops for GCSE and A level students. Their enthusiasm and imagination is endlessly inspiring. And it’s as thrilling as being published to read, on students’ feedback, that they found the sessions ‘very useful and enjoyable’, and ‘felt able to let go’.
One of my favourite quotes about writing is from The Faith of a Writer, by Joyce Carol Oates. ‘Only have faith,’ she says. ‘The first sentence can’t be written until the last sentence has been written. Only then do you know where you’ve been going, and where you’ve been.’