Problems With Speech

Yesterday I gave a presentation, it was a mock one for one that I am doing tomorrow and though I knew the people I was doing it to, fear overtook me. I can talk quite easily to crowds of people, I can have family, friends in the audience but when I am told I have…

In Defence of Idealism

Today I have been called an idealist. You’d think this is something to applaud but not when it is married with, ‘you don’t live in the real world’. I have a real problem with people who think idealism is something bad when it comes to society and politics. A bedrock of democracy, liberty and freedom…

Telling Stories

There is a misrepresentation of writers and poets, that we sit down at our laptops, crack them open, click on a blank document and the stories just pour onto the page. Anyone who approaches the blank page with a blank mind will end up with a blank page. Sure, it will have some weird little…

Can You Tell Me A Story?

There is a problem, I can teach you the nuts and bolts of creative writing, I can teach you the importance of voice, creating characters, conflict and tension but I don’t think I can teach you how to tell a story. If you can’t lie convincingly or day dream, the likely chance of you making…

Why Do We Ban Technology in a Creative Writing Workshop?

We are in danger within Creative Writing of alienating ourselves from the next generation. The idea of technology from mobiles to smartphones, from word processors to tablets has always irked some writers. I started my career with a pencil – I am overly fond of a pencil, it never runs out unexpectedly and is accompanied…

New Publication: Refugees Welcome from Eyewear Publishing

Last year, Todd Swift, put the call out after the first shocking images of the Syrian refugee crisis hit the media. These heartbreaking images where at first demonized by the British press and politicians alike, who referred to the refugees as ‘swarms’. This sad state of affairs spurred Eyewear Publishing into asking a number of…

New Work Ethic: How’s It Working Out, Andrew?

Never trust a question whose subtext is one that says, ‘Hey, I hope it has been a thorough fuck up for you’. I’ve been asked about my new work ethic several times, I have to admit that many have been kind inquiries, some just fascinated whether they can replicate and a very small minority that…

Do I Have The Passion For Writing?

There are times when we all ask this. There are times, like Marlon James said in his Booker Prize speech, that we think about giving up. The mountainside is too steep, the track too worn and our shoes too threadbare to carry on. Then there are writers who say, ‘I can do nothing else. I…

New Work Ethic: Going Back to the Past

When I started writing full time in my twenties I had a strict work ethic of writing in the morning and doing admin the afternoon; doing all those little niggly things that had to be done to be a writer and pay the bills. If I feel myself stray, I stab myself with a metaphorical…

How New Wave Came to Me Via Tripods

They invaded my world when I was nine. I’d seen the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds back to back with It Came for Beneath the Sea. I was, and still am, a big Ray Harryhausen fan. I grew up on Sinbad and Ray introduced me to Raquel Welsh and dinosaurs, though at the age…

Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2015

This summer I will be reading at the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival (3rd-5th July, 2015). I will be  reading on the Saturday (4th July) with Lindsey Holland and Cathy Galvin at Mexborough Business Centre, Conference Room. This is a free event and the whole festival reclaims Ted Hughes as a South Yorkshire poet.

Practice & Craft: Carys Bray

I managed to sit down with Carys Bray recently to discuss her practice and craft. I have a confession, Carys and I have taught with each other for years, and we regularly talk about books and marking (hence she mentions in the interview about marking Creative Writing students). However, Carys and I have never really…