Writing our way to recovery

Today, while cycling through Hackney, I had a wave of joy at a recent achievement. I think it’s called happiness. Not just the fulfilment of a personal pleasure – finishing a short story, or novel, even; getting through the day without losing my temper at my two children! – but the recognition that that personal pleasure will also…

The Fog and the Sea

Yesterday it was my birthday and also the publication day for an essay I’ve written about my father’s struggle with alcohol. You can read it here: https://granta.com/the-fog-and-the-sea/ Granta actually had a different piece of mine, which they were due to publish, when I sent the editor, Luke Neima, this piece. He liked them equally, but couldn’t…

Having fun in Higher Education

On Saturday London Lit Lab taught the new Screenwriting MA students at Bath Spa University. We were invited to do an ideas-generating session. Zoe and I took the role of Idea Hunters. We are Idea Hunters, we said (not exactly out loud). How – we asked – do we find ideas? Where are they? Are they…

High over South London

Three bodies, white underwear, bare skin, in troubled sleep on a mattress on the floor. One on his back, corpse-straight, chest and shoulders broad and flat, a T-shirt round his head like a badly wrapped turban. A second tucked like an embryo, his shape too small for his man feet and legs: a crooked body,…

London Lit Lab: Why our course works

We’re in our third week of teaching London Lit Lab’s beginners’ course. How has it been? It’s been great! There’s been a lot of writing and learning going on, and not only among the students. I’ve had a few revelations myself. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered during the first throws of our…