In case you haven’t noticed, I have a shiny new website created by the good people at Design House Berkhamsted. What do you think? Like it? Hate it? Let me know (oh, and definitely let me know if you spot any mistakes….). We’re still tweaking and updating and fixing things, but I think it’s almost there.
OK…. UPDATES! Apart from the new website there’s been quite a buzz at Jess-Cooke Towers. I finished the Writing Motherhood project (sob) and got some pretty amazing reviews (such as this one, this one, and especially THIS ONE). One of the things I love about being a writer is the people I get to meet and the amazing experiences I have. Doing events with CL Taylor, Nuala Casey, Rowan Coleman, Liz Fraser, Hollie McNish, Kathryn Simmonds, Debi Gliori, Lily Dunn, Sinead Morrissey, Rebecca Goss, Kate Long and Kathryn Maris has been so much fun! Getting lost in deepest, darkest Scotland with Kathryn Maris was hilarious (and a bit scary), feeling stunned and blown-away by Debi Gliori’s illustrated journey through thirty-eight years of motherhood, staying overnight in an incredible Swindon farmhouse with ducklings in the patio and the most interesting group of people I’ve ever met, and so on and so forth. I’ve made lifelong friends during this project. Even the hard parts brought lessons: getting slightly heckled at the Belfast Book Festival about why the project wasn’t Writing Parenthood set my thinking on firmer ground about the feminist angle of the project. Getting shouted at during our even at the Ledbury Poetry Festival about the fact that the audience couldn’t hear us reminded me not to ever trust the tech team when they say ‘you only need one microphone’. Getting food poisoning in St Andrews just wasn’t fun at all. But it taught me never, ever to eat an partially cooked burger EVER AGAIN.
The anthology is currently with a highly respected publisher who is due to get back to me in a couple of weeks or so about whether they’re going to publish it (and of course, when). I’m hopeful that they’ll take it on – the quality of the work is outstanding.
L-R: front row CL Taylor, me, Helen Cadbury (who chaired the event); back row my mum (who just came along) and Nuala Casey
When I started the project I hoped that the tour would feed into the conversation about how motherhood impacts creativity and vice versa, but I didn’t exactly know how it would all feed in. 13 festival events later, and the conversation has expanded far beyond these initials thoughts. So I’m excited to publish the poems, short stories and non-fiction pieces that the project generated and will update you more next month.
I have been working on some new novels, poems, and creative writing research projects. I’m currently redrafting my novel The Disappeared (see my Pinterest board for that one to give an idea of what it’s about) and working on a new one (duh duh DAH!). This summer I have some new poetry coming out in Ambit, and next month my first academic paper in EIGHT YEARS is being published in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing as I’m developing a project that looks at how creative writing can help with recovery from mental illness. The lovely folks at Mslexia have also commissioned me to write a regular column called ‘Poems Up Close’, whereby I analyse and appraise a fab poem for how, um, fab it is. Last issue’s poem was Pippa Little’s beautiful poem ‘Hope’, which you can read here.
I’m speaking with Liz Fraser at the Belfast Book Festival next month about this, and if you’re interested there may be an opportunity to attend online via video webcasting (in case you don’t happen to live in Belfast) so stay tuned.