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 on the web. My work was shortlisted for the 2016 Fish Short Story Prize and the 2014 Bridport Prize. My story Something Hidden was the title story in the 2013 Bridge House anthology.
I’m currently working on my second novel, The Leopard’s Daughter, set in the Congo Free State in 1908. It’s inspired by the Congolese woman who appears at the end of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The opening chapters (under a different title) won the Yeovil Literary Prize in 2014. My previous novel, The Ash Zone – inspired by living in Beijing in 1979/80 – won the prize in 2011.
When I venture into the real world, I run creative writing workshops for GCSE and A level students. I find their enthusiasm and imagination endlessly uplifting. And it’s as thrilling as being published to read, on students’ feedback after a workshop, ‘very useful and enjoyable’, ‘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.’