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A bit more about me

I was born in Poole in Dorset and grew up in the south coast seaside town of Bournemouth, so I’ve always loved the seaside, although I lived in London for a long time – about 18 years in total. I think of it as a second home. I went to Bournemouth School for Girls, and then studied Drama at the University of East Anglia. I did a Drama PGCE at Middlesex and taught Drama and writing in schools and youth groups and other places. I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8, mainly in notebooks. (I thought I was writing poetry but I don’t know if I was!) I started to take it seriously when I was an undergraduate. I returned to UEA six years after graduating to do the MA in Creative Writing, specialising in fiction. After that I did a PhD in English Literature and Cultural Theory at the University of Reading, where I wrote about hair. I live in East Sussex with my wife, son and our two black cats. I love singing (I used to sing in a choir called the The Pink Singers when I lived in London), cooking, reading, days by the sea, and picnics.

My novels

I used my experience of growing up in self-catering holiday flatlets to write my first novel, The Water’s Edgewhich was set in a ramshackle hotel. The Water’s Edge was a real hotel near the East Cliff in Boscombe, Bournemouth. I never went into the hotel; instead I watched while Bournemouth Council slowly knocked it down over two years, and imagined what it would have been like inside.

The Haven Home for Delinquent Girls is also based on a buildingThe Haven in Ely, Cambridgeshire, used to be a home for unmarried mothers. At the time I first visited it was a teashop selling fancy cakes. Nowadays it’s a private home. Both books were published by Review and are still available to buy second hand on Amazon. I’m currently working on my third novel. My collection of short stories comes out with Cultured Llama in 2018. I also write poetry, and have had three poems published so far.

My short stories

For a list of the short stories I’ve published so far, click here.

Small Steps

After taking time out to start a family, I wrote a nonfiction book, called A Small Steps Guide to Goal Setting and Time Management, which was published by a small press called Emerald in July 2012. I was inspired to write it by my undergraduate students who often needed a way to manage their time when they arrive at University. Other writers have found it useful too.

I have self-published various eBooks based on reflections on my own writing practice and teaching. You can find out more about them on the Small Steps Guide blog.

My academic writing

My academic writing falls into three (sometimes overlapping) categories:

  • cultural interpretations of the body – my PhD was on hair
  • creative practice – for instance, on learning and teaching creativity, or creative research
  • and more recently disability and neurodiversity.

I’ve published several essays on hair, as that was my PhD topic. Download a list of my publications for more. I’ve written about my experience as a dyslexic writer in NAWE’s ‘Writing in Practice’ magazine and in the foreword to Everything is Spherical. I also contributed an essay on the links between Queer and Crip Theory for a Palgrave collection called Rethinking Disability Theory and Practice. My most recent essay was on creative practice as academic research, published by a journal called TEXT. You can read it online here: Risk, Constraint and Play.

Teaching

I taught my first class in 1993 when I was still an undergraduate. I’ve taught in all sorts of places – from community centres to homeless shelters, from supply teaching to University lecturing. For twelve years, I lectured full-time in Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton. I recently left to spend more time on my writing. I currently teach part-time for on the Open University’s MA in Creative Writing.

Contact

You can get in touch with me here.

Thanks for visiting my website.

Download a list of my publications