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New short story collected in Homeless World Cup anthology..
05 July 2020

As Lee Child says, “You don't have to like football (or be homeless) to love this book – it's an all-star squad of amazing talent, and all in a great cause, so read it now!” Published TODAY, When the Homeless World Cup would have been played in Finland, HOME FIXTURES brings together writers as diverse as Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, and Jackie Kay. The two dozen contributions focus on football and/or homelessness and the aim is to raise funds and awareness for the Homeless World Cup Foundation.

I'm always delighted to be asked to write a new story, and for 'The Give and Take' to appear in such company is very exciting. Nick Hornby, of 'Fever Pitch' fame, leads the squad.

In 2011 Anthony Clavane wrote in The Guardian about how rarely football features in fiction. He listed 10 writers who had done so, including that gloriously painful match in Barry Hines' 'Kestrel for a Knave'. At number 10, and the only place for females on the list, came in an anthology of Scottish football short fiction In which he picked out my story 'The Match' for special attention. "Truly she is the anti-Hornby", Clavane says of me!

So here you have it, Hornby and anti-Hornby in the same volume and just £1.99 for a great cause.

 

Talking to Christopher Brookmyre ..
02 July 2020

I'll be in conversation with crime and thriller writer Chris Brookmyre for the online Birnam Book Festival tonight at 8pm. It's going out live on the Festival's Facebook Page but the recording will remain here afterwards. We'll discuss his latest novel 'Fallen Angel', described as 'gloriously dark, deliciously twisty', and much more. (Please ignore the first minute in which my mike was muted!).

Free audio short stories with my newsletter..
19 June 2020

I'm currently recording a selection of my short stories to issue with my monthly newsletter. Please sign up here if you would like to receive them. And there's a special offer if you introduce someone else!

Virtual short story writing course with Birnam Book Festival..
22 May 2020

Like many other book festivals, my local one at Birnam has had to put plans on hold. However as their Writer in Residence I will be running a virtual short story writing course over four weeks from Wednesday 10th June. You'll find all the details here. Sign up quick!

Lockdown poem for a strange Easter..
15 April 2020

Knowing

So you're wondering exactly
where it went. Whipped
from a pocket by the western wind
on your weekly trip to town?
Or tangling in a cupboard corner
with the Christmas lights,
the jigsaw that’s lost two pieces, the mice?
Or has all your knowing fled where slaters scuttle,
to the garden shed?
 
So now you've ditched the dates:
The trip to Oban, holidays,
a visit from your sister. Still,
there’s other trusted things you miss:
The boy who comes to mow your lawn;
chums chit-chatting in the fish-van line;
tinned tomatoes always in the shops;
Doig’s, for your new Spring socks.
And Easter Sunday should always spill
families onto Kenmore Beach
with sandwiches, beer, no fear
amidst the hooting geese.
 
So where now will you find your certainties?
Listen! The blackbird still stands
on the roof at dusk, trilling notes
that drift towards your door.
Primroses spring up; Peewits
soar and tumble on the moor;
bluebells will soon spread
sky-carpets between trees.
Open the window. Isn't that the scent
of ramsons rising in the wood again?
Fiction workshop Garsdale Retreat July 2020..
23 March 2020

We'll have to see how Covid-19 develops, but all being well by July, I will be teaching a fiction writing course from 27th July at the stunning Garsdale Retreat. More here.

The Rainbow by DH Lawrence..
07 March 2020

Sixteen years  ago I did my first abridgement for BBC Radio 4 of 'The Rainbow', a text I'd loved when I took A-level English. Lovely to hear it again currently in ten epiodes on Radio 4 Extra (listen at the link below).

Take a listen to Radio 4's Book of the Week next week..
30 January 2020

I abridged Kathleen Jamie's 'Surfacing' for next week's 'Book of the Week' on BBC Radio 4. More.

Autumn 2019 news of writing, workshops and more literary escapades..
06 November 2019

Please read on here.

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