The writer is a lonely hunter


Dorchester Literary Festival

Victorian Gallery, Dorset County Museum

Victorian Gallery, Dorset County Museum

The first Dorchester Literary Festival runs from 23-25 October 2015 with events at Duke’s Auctioneers and the delightful Victorian Gallery in the Dorset County Museum. I’m a volunteer steward at Desert Island Books with Tracy Chevalier and I’m planning attend the session delivered by Dom Joly on Friday. You’ll also find me helping at the Young Peoples’ Story Slam on Saturday held at Dorchester Library.


If you’re able to attend any of these events, I look forward to seeing you.

Leave a comment »

Blandford Rotary: Short story competition, readings and prize giving




Adrian Ford is circulating details of the event below. Unfortunately, I’m in Cornwall that week but I wish everyone attending a very good night.

Image 06-10-2015 at 20.35

1 Comment »

Human Rights Tour 2015

The British Institute of Human Rights came to Dorchester today as part of 15 Days of Action to celebrate the Human Rights Act which came into force in 2000. The aim of the workshops is to empower people to:

  • know about human rights
  • use human rights in practice
  • protect human rights

What are human rights?

Human rights were legally defined after WWII  in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. It is a set of minimum standards regarding how the state treats people. Human rights cannot be taken away but in some instances, limited or restricted.

Why does the Human Rights Act matter?

  • it offers protection to everyone
  • it ensures the government is accountable
  • the legal duties on public authorities ensure that human rights are respected in their decisions and actions
  • it helps the UK show leadership when human rights violations are taking place across the world

For more information see the website:

Leave a comment »

Young Writers’ Story Slam, Dorchester

Story SlamAs part of the first Dorchester Literary Festival, the Dorset Writers’ Network are hosting a Young Writers’ Story Slam at Dorchester Library on Saturday 24 October, 2pm. Writers from 11-16 years are invited to enter the story slam by reading a story of up to 500 words. Please email to register and turn up on the day. Names will be drawn from a hat and, when everyone has read, the three judges will withdraw to decide on the winners. Every reader will get the judges’ feedback on their story. The winner will become Young Story Slam Winner 2015. (Parental consent is required.)

Leave a comment »

Back to normal

I’ve finished the fourth week of a new job, have submitted my transfer paper to PhD and printed out what I hope will be the final draft of my novel How to be Brave. One last read through, then the manuscript will be off to a proof reader. We have had a house full of visitors and done several long walks. I’ve rejoined the Dorchester Film Society for the seventh year (very good film called Ida screened last week) and I’m continuing my work with the Dorset Writers’ Network. More news about from the network soon, including an exciting day for writers in November at Dorchester Library.

There are currently free writing workshops on offer in Dorchester with the Boris Starling. I’ve signed up for one on 6 November about plotting. You can find further details here.

Happy writing!


A week in Stoupa

I was fortunate this summer to be invited  to spend another week in Stoupa with Carol McGrath. This time I was also in the company of  contemporary and historical fiction writer, Liz Harris. We got into a regular routine of writing, swimming, talking and eating! I’ve written a little more about the area around Stoupa here. You may also be interested to know that Carol’s novel The Betrothed Sister, the last  in the Daughters of Hastings trilogy, is now available on Amazon. Here is a shot from an amazing restaurant at a village called Pigi in the mountains above Stoupa.




#fridayflash – Saxophone Player

Flash fiction story in 191 wordsfile0001020632881

Saxophone player

Performing on the bridge behind Notre Dame, the singer wears a flat cap while his friend plays the saxophone. I linger beside the companion I met while sharing a table for lunch. She’s alone in Paris, without any family to consider. Mine are at home, seething at the way I’m spending my pension on travelling the world. The musicians finish their song and I join the applause. The sun pierces the filigree clouds and a breeze makes me hug my elbows. I wonder whether the singers pay a fee to perform on the bitumen. Displayed on an open suitcase are CDs for sale and the saxophone player beckons me over to take a closer look. While I examine the cardboard envelopes, the singer calls to the audience, asking them to make a request for the next song. I select a CD, search in my wallet for a note and hand it to the saxophone player.

‘Do you know, “I’ve got a crush on you”?’ I ask.

‘Really?’ He blinks. His green eyes should belong to a cat.

‘No,’ I accept the change he places in my hand. ‘I mean the song.’



All quiet at the Writer is a Lonely Hunter

It’s been very quiet on this blog over the summer. While I have been busy writing, there has also been some time away. I had a fantastic week at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where I was introduced to writers including Etgar Keret, who talked about his recently published  The Seven Good Years. In this memoire, he shares the experience of living in Israel with parents who were holocaust survivors. The memoire covers the period from the birth of his son to the death of his father. I bought a copy of his short fiction titled Suddenly, a Knock on the Door and he signed the book in a unique style. And, although I’m not much of a photographer the light in Edinburgh one evening was so amazing that I took the shot below.

Read the rest of this entry »


Using sayings from around the world as a prompt for public speaking

mag59Previously on this blog, I have written about my membership of a local public speaking group (you can read about the Casterbridge Speakers here). Last week, it was my turn to lead the table topics section of the agenda. Here members of the group are asked to give an impromptu talk on a non-specialist theme or topic for up to two-minutes. Some people love the challenge – others hate it. My role is to select topics in advance of the meeting which  allow speakers to share stories or offer opinions. According to Toastmasters International,  this role will  help to improve my organisational, time management and facilitation skills.

In order to offer a non-threatening subject for a two-minute talk, I looked to issue 65 of Writing in Education  for ideas. There, an article by Robert Paul Weston used Japanese sayings as guidance for writers. This got me thinking about using sayings from around the world as a prompt for a two-minute talk. After a little internet searching, I came up with these prompts:

Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment »

Skylark Literary visits Shaftesbury, Dorset.

Leading London-based literary agency, Skylark Literary, is undertaking a tour of rural areas in order to reach writers unable to attend urban venues. The session will hosted by Storyslingers and offered on Friday 17 July, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Garden Room, Shaftesbury Gold Hill Museum, Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8JW. The talk will cover the children’s publishing industry, followed by a Q&A session with particular reference to writing for young people. Author Kate Kelly will also be present to answer questions from the writer’s perspective. Everyone welcome.

Suggested donation £3

concept 01 final

Leave a comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 877 other followers