Posts Tagged ‘published work’

This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to contribute to the Hull Freedom Festival, which is quite possibly one of the most excellent things that can happen to any writer with connections to the city. I was asked to write a short story to accompany a series of sculptures placed around the Festival, to the prompt “Knowledge Is Freedom”, and to facilitate a Creative Writing workshop for local people to create their own work to the same prompt. The work we created would then be displayed at Hull Central Library, and visitors would be invited to add their own contributions.

That’s me, trying to describe in words this astoundingly cool piece of sculpture:


My story was called “The Girl Who Grew Books From Her Head”. And there she is! In the flesh! And growing from her head are the poems and short stories we all created in the workshops.

Look at her wild, beautiful, bookish hair:


This is me standing with her and trying not to drip water all over her (it was pouring with rain that day and we’d walked right round the Festival before finding her).

The Girl Who Grew Books From Her Head

I added a little thank-you on the day to the creator of The Girl:


A massive, massive thank you to everyone who took part in the workshops – it was a privilege to create work alongside you. If you’d like to read some of the brilliant poems and micro-fictions that were written in the workshops, take a look at the Freedom Festival twitter feed or drop by Hull’s Central Library where they’re on display in the Girl’s hair.

I’ve also had a few requests from people wanting to read my short story, so here it is.

The Girl Who Grew Books From Her Head

Once there was a girl who grew books from her head like hair. Whenever she thought of a question, a book would grow with the answer. Her parents, frightened she would never find a husband, sold their daughter to a man with sharp white teeth and a long wolfskin coat.

The man locked the girl in a tower with no door and no windows. He surrounded her with quicksilver mirrors and cut the books from her scalp and burned them, crowning her with a lustrous golden wig, and whispered to her, See how lovely you are when you’re not thinking.

Each midnight, the girl stole silver scissors from beneath his pillow, cut free a book and hid it behind the mirrors. She grew books about physics and engineering, architecture, demolition, and wild tales of escape, until the man woke to find the mirrors replaced with books that together spelled FREEDOM.

The man pursued her to an ocean, but she plucked a sailing manual from her scalp and sailed over. He followed her to the mountains, but she plucked another book and climbed. She came to a beautiful city with wide streets and green gardens, and knew she had found home.

When the city’s leaders heard what the girl could do, they said, This girl is precious and should be locked away! But the girl laughed, and replied, Knowledge must be no-one’s prisoner. So she planted her feet and became a tree, and passers-by picked books like fruit from her branches.

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The Summer We All Ran Away

Lovely people! “The Summer We All Ran Away” is on the Kindle Daily Deal today (14th September) – so if you have a Kindle and would like to buy my book, this is your moment…

If you’d like to read more about my book (or about any of the other books from my brilliant publishers Legend Press), you can visit the Legend Press blog to read more.

2PM UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who’s taken advantage of the Kindle Daily Deal price – “The Summer We All Ran Away” is currently in the Kindle Top 100, hooray! If you haven’t already bought and you’d like to, the Daily Deal Price will last until Midnight tonight.

5PM UPDATE: I am at Number 5!

Since it’s quite conceivable this will never happen to me again, I’ve taken a screenshot to record the moment –

The Summer We All Ran Away Top 5 Kindle store

Huge, giant thank you to all the lovely people who’ve bought my book today. I really hope you enjoy it.

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A Short Series Of Posts Where I Insist On Sharing All My News (With Added Photo Goodness)

Lovely Thing Number One
“The Summer We All Ran Away”, published by the brilliant Legend Press, has been launched and is out in the world, doing its thing. The official launch party was at the Falmouth Bookseller. My brother said it would be funny to go in during the day and do a Stealth Signing of a copy just for him, so that’s what we did:


(In defence of my utterly ungroomed condition, I had just got out of the sea about half an hour before.)

One of the many reasons why the Falmouth Bookseller is ace and you should go there is because they do brilliant things like this for visiting authors:


There just couldn’t be a nicer way to see your books displayed. Thank you!

Here’s me signing copies for the lovely, lovely people who came to buy it:


Here’s me trying to look all serious and writerly and stuff:


Here’s one of my mum – my chief rounder-upper of potential customers:


And here’s me with my nose in a glass of wine. Ahem.


Thank you again to the Falmouth Bookseller for hosting the evening and for making it such a success. And thank you to my lovely husband, who isn’t in any of the photos because he was taking all of the photos, including papping me in the street and making people think I might be some sort of celebrity. That was brilliant. As are you.


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Invite Falmouth - The Summer We All Ran Away

The Falmouth launch party for “The Summer We All Ran Away” will be at the Falmouth Bookseller on 14th August, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. If you’re in the area, please do come along – it would be lovely to see you!

The Summer We All Ran Away is available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle editions, and from all good bookshops – including my kind hosts, the wonderful Falmouth Bookseller.

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Invite Hull - The Summer We All Ran Away

On Saturday 3rd August at 2pm, I’ll be celebrating the launch of “The Summer We All Ran Away” at Waterstones, Hull. If you’d like to come along and join in, please do! RSVP to info@legendpress.co.uk. Hope to see you there!

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Is it weird to be pleased when you get an email telling you your work won’t be published? Usually those kind of emails just make me want to howl at the moon, then go and eat biscuits underneath a duvet for a while. But when it’s the Bridport Prize telling you that, although your short story hasn’t been chosen to appear in the final anthology, it’s made it onto the shortlist – well, under those circumstances, somehow that glass really does look half-full. 


Apparently there are about a hundred of us on the shortlist – including fellow Scott-prize winner Jonathan Pinnock – chosen from the six thousand-ish submissions to the 2012 competition. Six thousand. Six thousand. If I’d known that beforehand I’d have been far too intimidated to even think about having a go.

I’m especially pleased because the story I submitted, Mid-November, was difficult and uncomfortable to write. My comfort zone is probably a little bit less about the heartfelt exploration of impossible choices, and a little bit more about the absurd black comedy. I like writing about modern-day incarnations of the Seven Dwarfs, or gawky wannabe stand-up comics, or cynical journos stuck in the interview from Hell. But somehow, the idea of the prison visit got stuck in my head, and the only way to shake it was to write the story. (Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that there actually is a prison in our village, which comes in handy when trying to explain the concept of respect for the law to the kids. “See that? That’s where the naughty people get put. Yes, right there, behind that big wall…”)

So, yeah. Not in the final Bridport anthology; sad face! But on the Bridport shortlist; happy face! And of course, huge congratulations to the fifteen winners, whose stories I’m really looking forward to reading when the anthology is published.

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A while ago, I answered a shout-out for contributions to an anthology from the brilliant author Caroline Smailes. The request was for a flash-fiction of one hundred words or less, inspired by a piece of music available on YouTube. The collection of one hundred flash fictions – including My piece “Birthday” (inspired by Tom Waits’ “Kiss Me”) – has just been published as an eBook, and you can buy it from Amazon right now.

Here’s the really important bit. All the royalties will be going to support the work of the charity One In Four. One In Four provide support for people who have suffered sexual abuse and sexual violence. And they’re called “One In Four” because, by the time they reach the age of eighteen, one in four young adults will have suffered exactly this.

One in four. One in four. That’s a horrible, horrible statistic. One in four of us, one in four of our children. One in four. It’s the kind of thing you read and want to instantly dismiss, like this can’t be true so I’ll just forget about it. One in four. That’s not how the world should be. But as long as it is, there’ll be a need for charities like One In Four to provide help and support for the victims.

I don’t often use my blog to beg people to buy my work, but I’m happy to do so this time. Please buy the flash anthology “100 RPM”, and help to support the work of One In Four. You’ll be helping them make a real difference.

100 RPM, edited by Caroline Smailes and introduced by Nik Kershaw, is available from Amazon for the bargain price of 99p. All profits will go to support the work of One In Four.

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Just found out I’m the runner-up in The Journal’s National Flash Fiction Day Competition with my piece “Doorstep”, hoorah!

Apparently “Doorstep” will be going on their website at some point, so as soon as it does I’ll post a link.

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Here I am in the Hull Daily Mail, talking about “New World Fairy Tales” and generally attempting to pass for human.

If I sound a little bit like I’m writing rather than talking, that would be because I was writing rather than talking (the interview was by email). Hopefully I don’t sound like too much of a freak.

NB: I worked in marketing for well over a decade, and employed many different PR agencies whose sole, entire job was to get good coverage for the brands I was managing. In terms of space within the paper, this is easily the best coverage I ever achieved. So, yeah! I’m officially more newsworthy than cold remedies, kid’s analgesics and laxatives.

Which is nice.

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Author and blogger Caroline Smailes is putting together a flash-fiction anthology in aid of the charity One In Four, who support victims of sexual violence and abuse. The anthology will contain one hundred flash-fiction stories, each of one hundred words or less, and each inspired by a different song.

As someone whose natural authorial style is not-terribly-succinct, I’m especially proud that for once I managed to stick to the word-limit, and tell a story in a saintly ninety-eight words. And I’m delighted that the piece I wrote, entitled “Birthday” (inspired by the track “Kiss Me“, from Tom Waits’ album “Bad As Me”) is one of the hundred chosen for inclusion.

Everything about this anthology’s happening fast, fast, fast – the shout-out for entries was only a week ago and already the final selection’s been made – so I can’t yet tell you the title or publication date, or share the cover artwork. But I can tell you that all profits from the anthology will go to support the work of One In Four, so I’ll be shamelessly soliciting you all to buy a copy to help support this very worthy cause.

Watch this space!

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