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Collated Answers from WW interviews

Tell us something about your background.
Adrian MeadI love working as writer and I have written on a fairly wide range of drama for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, everything from the medic shows like "Where The Heart Is" and "Holby" to Comedy Drama such as "Paradise Heights" and "the Last Detective'. Like most creative people I would hate to find myself pigeonholed. At the moment I am writing a Rom -com, a Comedy-Horror and researching a big historical drama. No fear of being pigeon holed just yet.
I've also written and directed four short films and a feature film, which was completed this year and has me hungering for more.
Al Hunter AshtonAs a kid I learnt to write late, so to amuse myself I actually wrote scripts as early as fifteen because I could only write the way I talked. I still have trouble writing letters because they’re just too chatty. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when email and I.M came in. My first script as a kid was about a Welsh Village called QuayTyllch – a name I made up - where everyone just died horrible deaths. Morbid stuff, but my brother read it and wet himself, the first and only time in his life I’ve made him laugh.

The serious writing started at drama school in Manchester where Willy Russell and Dave Simpson were resident writers. Dave got my first radio play on and Willy commissioned a half hour script from me called “Teaching Matthew” (a mickey take of Educating Rita) which we did for BBC schools.. . .. . seven years later. So you might say I was lucky.
Alan WilliamsI don’t really have a writing background,but a hobby that I’ve chosen to focus on about three years ago. My degree is in Biology and my career paths have been in Science teaching (Australia) and Financial Services Management (in the UK).

In my youth I’ve written plays that were performed in outback NSW, produced articles and edited a corporate magazine. I also was on the fringe of writing for DC comics with a character I dreamed up however both I and the editor moved on before it went anywhere. I did manage to visit both Marvel and DC offices in New York and discuss story lines with various editors. It was one of those What If scenarios. I chose a more profitable steady paid job in the end.

Since deciding to follow my dream of being published in 2012, I’ve concentrated of short stories for the Womag market (Women’s magazines) as well as some children’s stories. I write across most genres; romance, humour, fantasy, crime, ghost/supernatural, science fiction (without the space ships), dramas, heart-warmers, thrillers, twists and probably a few others.

My active list at the moment include some light, fluffy Womag stories about dating, lost loves, teenage drama, as well as a children’s adventure where a girl goes into the Dreamworld to prevent a disaster in the real world.

My main focus today is a compilation story called When Gravity Went Wild using the same characters in a follow up science fiction/adventure/thriller/crime to a story I’ve just sold called The Vanishing. At this point I’d thank Catkin on WW for the throw away idea of this story and the support and encouragement of other Women’s Fiction members and FFD members. I owe a lot to WW members.
Ali McNamaraFrom Notting Hill with Love...Actually will be my first novel to be published, but the third novel I’ve written and put through the agent/publisher submission process. Believe me my pile of rejection letters is just as big as anyone else’s! It’s a romantic comedy about a girl that loves the cinema, and sets out to prove to her family and friends that you can actually live your life as if it were a movie.

Andrew BlackmanMy first novel, On the Holloway Road, is being published by Legend Press in February 2009. I have had one short story published by Leaf Books and have several more forthcoming in literary magazines. Before that I was a journalist and have had several hundred articles published in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines across America. Right now I’m working on a new novel about identity in the age of social networking.

Andrew LownieI set up my own agency aged twenty six, having been in publishing less than five years but, with the confidence of youth, I was keen to strike off on my own. I had worked for six months in Foyle’s bookshop, been the graduate trainee at Hodder & Stoughton with placements in everything from the warehouse to sales, production and the religious department, had worked as a freelance journalist and book reviewer for papers such as the Times and Spectator and on the staff of the parliamentary magazine The House Magazine , researched and help write some books and spent three years as an agent at Curtis Brown/John Farquharson so I thought I knew it all.

Curtis Brown generously let me take my authors with me on a shared commission basis but the early days were hard and I supported myself with journalism and writing my own books. I realised early that the only way to differentiate myself from other agencies was to specialise and to offer a very personal service and this ‘boutique agency’ approach has been at the heart of the agency’s ethos ever since. I started out with offices in Piccadilly, and then off Regent Street, with my former secretary from Curtis Brown and have been downsizing ever since . American publishers, in particular, are always asking where are ‘my people’ and sometimes authors claim to have talked to my assistant but I find I work most efficiently when I’m on my own.

For the last fifteen years I have worked from home – presently a 1725 house by Westminster Abbey where I have the ground floor consisting of a meeting room, office and library – and alone. That means I directly handle every aspect of representation myself in this country and in the US, using sub-agents only for translation and some film work, and if anything goes wrong only I can be blamed. One advantage is I can charge a blanket 15% commission, paying sub-agents from my cut, and giving me the lowest commission rate for non-domestic sales in all British agenting.

I see representation as a collaborative effort where the author, agent and publisher need to take a long-term view and work together including authors accepting that much of the promotion may depend on their own efforts. Many of my authors have been with me for over twenty years such as historian Anthony Bruce, UFO writer Timothy Good and crime novelist Mei Trow and I try, if possible, to keep authors with the same publishers – Lawrence James has been with Little Brown and St Martin’s Press since 1994 - and to build them gradually rather than simply going for large advances.

The website http://www.andrewlownie.co.uk, which has over ten thousand visitors a month, is the agency’s show window and is designed to be as helpful as possible, even to writers who don’t want to come to the agency. It should provide all the required information in no more than three clicks. Each author has a page on themselves with a picture and a link to their own website together with a note on how the author found the agency, as it was thought this might give useful indicators on the routes to an agent. There is then a page per book title with review extracts and rights information. There are also sections aimed at television and film producers, ‘Forthcoming Books’ listed in order of publication which is useful for publicists and those wanting to book speakers for festivals and regular articles on aspects of the publishing business.

There have been some forty articles over the last thirty months on such subjects as how to fill in US tax forms, advice on pitching to agents, writing book proposals and publicising ones writing through local and regional media, a literary editor’s view of publicity departments and a sales rep’s insight into the changing role of the sales department, a series where editors at different publishing houses explained how the commissioning process worked internally, the opportunities and challenges facing writers in the 21st century, how the Freedom of Information Act can be utilised, a week’s blog describing what happens in my particular agency and an advice column from an ex-bookseller-turned-publicist.

At the beginning of each month, I send to the thousand plus subscribers a short note on recent sales, news, new authors and an analysis of the website visitors and what they looked at and at the end of the year I write to give details of the number of books sold, the average advance and try to draw conclusions about trends in genres, size of advances etc. Few agents reveal such financial information but part of the agency’s ethos is to be as transparent and open as possible.

The agency takes a holistic approach helping to find subjects for authors, reverting rights and reselling them (see Rights Reverted section on website), marketing authors between books such as placing them as speakers on cruise ships and generally trying to provide as rounded a service as possible.

I’m not paid a salary and my income depends entirely on my efforts – like most authors – so I do try to go the extra inch in generating money. Often this means thinking globally and ‘outside the box’ – first placing a book in the translation market, selling a film option , developing the idea as a television or radio series, packaging an idea with an author, simply placing an idea as a serial, feature or television programme or selling rights separately or first to Canada or Australia.

Having written books myself, I hope I have some understanding of both the editorial and practical sides to writing - the importance of narrative thread and tension, the bore of clearing permissions, the preference for good reviews over sales etc - and that my year’s legal training at the College of Law is helpful over issues such as copyright, contract and libel.
Anji PratapIn a nutshell, I negotiate deals and contracts on a flat fee basis for my clients at any stage after an initial offer from a publisher. The people who tend to find me useful are the authors who have got themselves offers for publication and who, having got such offers are reluctant to pay an agent a percentage of current and future income. However, because I have been a contracts manager and agent with a major literary agency ( A P Watt) I am very well placed to give a client the kind of deal and contract negotiation they would get from an agency. I’m happy to throw a couple of hours’ general post-contract advice in too, to keep clients company as they embark on their publishing adventure.
Anne BrookeI write poems, novels and short stories (although I've made a recent decision not to write any short stories for a while in order to concentrate on the novels, as it was beginning to get rather overwhelming). My poetry can be quite dark, and sometimes violent, and comes from a different space entirely to my other work. I've written five novels and am currently working on my sixth, "The Gifting", which is my first fantasy novel, parts of which are showcased on site in the Novel 1 Group. Two of my novels, "The Hit List" and "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" (both comedies) are available, with a third (in the dark, gay psychological thriller genre - if that exists!), "A Dangerous Man", being published by Flame Books later this year. It's proving very hard to sell my fourth novel, "Maloney's Law", (also in the gay crime genre) even though it's been shortlisted in the Harry Bowling Novel Awards and the Royal Literary Fund Mentorship scheme, and longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Prize. It's surprising how disheartening that is, in spite of some success in other parts of my writing life - as "Maloney's Law" is a novel I feel particularly connected with. My fifth novel, "Thorn in the Flesh", is currently out with my agent, John Jarrold, for his thoughts, and has just been longlisted in the Debut Dagger Awards.

I don't think I could spend all my life being completely involved in the writing world, as it's quite hard. As a result, three days of my working week are spent in the Student Care Services department of the University of Surrey, where I'm involved in committee minuting and website maintenance. I find it difficult to have two lives but I suspect it does keep me sane. In writing terms, I also edit novels for friends on an occasional basis (I find I'm much sharper with other people's work than I am with my own!) and I'm also involved as a director in new publishers, Goldenford (http://www.goldenford.co.uk), by whom "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" is published.
Bill SpenceI have written: 3 War Novels, 36 Westerns, 1 Romance, 3 non fiction books dealing with aspects of Yorkshire, 1 non fiction book entitled Harpooned – The History of Whaling. This is a highly illustrated work. 16 historical/romantic sagas set chiefly on the Yorkshire coast in the 19th century though they do go to other parts of the country and the world. One encompasses the Second World War. One more will be published in September, another is at the editorial stage (this one covers the years 1938 to 1945) and a third is about to be written.

I started writing under a pseudonym with my second book which was a Western so I chose a name I thought more befitting that genre, Jim Bowden. This was followed by Floyd Rogers and Kirk Ford. I wrote the romance under Hannah Cooper because a female name was more fitting for that type of book.
When I changed genres and wrote the Red Shawl I submitted it under my own name. The publisher, Piatkus, liked it but wanted to change the by line to Jessica Blair to which I agreed. I suppose this was because of the nature of the novel – historical romantic saga and also because of marketing.
Harpooned, my war novels and other non-fiction books were written under my own names; three of the non-fiction books in collaboration with my wife Joan.

For about four or five years I did tutoring for a correspondence Writing School. This was quite interesting in that it covered a wide spectrum of work – articles, short stories, books, non fiction and fiction. It enabled me to see how other people, with the desire to write and be published, tackled the work. It was satisfying when a pupil achieved success but the majority fell by the wayside because they did not have the will or true desire to commit themself to the hard work writing entails.

Before turning to novels I wrote articles for local papers and regional magazines and some national magazines. My first piece was published in 1950 in a local weekly paper. This got me into writing and the way material should be presented and gave me a good grounding in the use of words in a particular way for the specific market at which the material was aimed.
I have run a book review column in a local weekly paper for over thirty years. This has widened my reading and made me look closely at the publishing world. It has also let me see how other writers use words and express themselves. It is essential for a writer to read.
The desire to write and a love of books must have sub-consciously come to me when a boy through my parents always having books and magazines in the house and encouraging me to read.
My first efforts were three short stories that I wrote in 1946 while still in the RAF on a voyage to Durban, South Africa, on the way to a posting in what was then Southern Rhodesia. I was bitten by the bug. On demob back in England I tried articles and short stories with some success, but all the time there was the desire to write books. I decided to write a novel with the background of my experiences as a Bomb Aimer in Lancasters of Bomber Command. I did this for my own satisfaction. I was ‘green’; did not know what to do with it; did not know any other writer from whom I could get advice. In our evening paper I saw (my first stroke of luck) a short note saying that a paperback publisher was running a competition for war novels. I sent mine in. While it did not win, the publisher said they would like to publish it. What a thrill! It appeared in 1956. I had enjoyed the longer form of writing so wondered where I went next. I knew a lot about the history of the West and had read a lot of Westerns so I tried one. Where do I send it? I wrote down the names of six publishers out of the Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. It kept coming back with the usual rejection slip – we don’t publish Westerns. Then it went to Mills and Boon; don’t smile – I was ‘green’. The usual typed rejection letter came signed by Alan Boon but that dear man had penned two more words ‘Try Hale’ (My second stroke of luck). I will be forever grateful to Mr Boon for in effect it launched my writing career. I sent the book to Hale who liked it, published it and said go on writing them for us. The rest is history with the Western leading me into writing other books.
Candi MillerI did a degree in journalism in South Africa then went on to work in advertising, as a copywriter, for more than a decade - in South Africa and America. I can confirm that advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

In the UK I did a bit of feature writing for home interest magazines while dabbling in short stories, some of which enjoyed modest success.

I’ve just completed my first novel, Salt & Honey, after ten years of tinkering with it: writing, rewriting, researching, starting over, being rejected, abandoning and finally resurrecting the ms…..your readers know the process. Mine was the usual agonising route to publication, but I think I did shoot myself in the foot several times along the way, (more about how not to on my blog: http://saltandhoney.blogspot.com) so I’ve probably hobbled forward more slowly and painfully than most.

I’ve tutored creative writing for six years now and love the work. The writing students, adult or undergrad, are inspiring. I learn as much from teaching them as I hope they do from me. In my novel, Salt & Honey, the protagonist comes from a tribe who have a custom called Hxaro , a system of mutual gift exchange. Hxaro is what tutoring writing is for me.

Currently I teach Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton.
Caroline RanceMy first novel, Kill-Grief, was published in April 2009 and is set in an 18th-century hospital. It's historical fiction, and is apparently on the literary side of things, although I'm never sure what that means – I just set out to write a good yarn that some people might enjoy. It took about 3 years to write once I got on with it, but I'd been having false starts at novels since my early twenties.

At the moment, I'm working on my second novel, which is slow going. I did an unofficial version of NaNoWriMo in November 2007 and did 33,000 words, but my son was only 7 months old then so he wasn't too demanding. Now he's a very lively 2-year-old so progress on the book has slowed down! It's another historical novel, set in the 1850s this time, and it has two narrators – a charlatan doctor and an impoverished girl who gets caught up in the world of freak shows.
Cassandra ClareCity of Bones is my first novel - before that, the only thing I'd had
published was a fantasy short story called "The Girl's Guide to
Defeating the Dark Lord." I just finished City of Ashes, the second book
in the Mortal Instruments series, and I've started the third: City of Glass.

When I was writing City of Bones I worked as a freelance journalist. I
would write light entertainment nonfiction pieces during the day, then
come home and work on my fantasy fiction. It was very difficult to get
out of the one mindset and into another one. I'm glad that now I write
fiction full-time!
Catherine RichardsI’m co-author of ‘Heading South’ a romantic comedy that I wrote together with Luke Bitmead. I’m currently working on another novel, as yet without a title. It will probably turn out to be more of the same kind of stuff. I like nothing more than to relax on a summer’s day with a nice cuddly romantic comedy, so that’s what I write on the whole.

I’m an English teacher in the real world. I’m sure it has helped my writing develop. There’s nothing like having to teach someone else how to write to make you aware of your own shortcomings. I especially enjoy working with my A Level students on their original writing portfolios but the younger kids can turn out some pretty interesting stuff too.
Generally, because of the hours I work, I have to write in fits and starts. I rarely get time to write much in term time but I do have the advantage of a long summer holiday where I can get stuck into a project.
Cathy GlassI used to work for the Civil Service which I left to start a family over twenty years ago. At the same time I became a foster carer, which now fuels my writing in the genre of Inspirational Memoirs.

Cheeky MaggotI set up Cheeky Maggot Theatre in 2002, just as I was leaving RADA. I got tired of revivals and wanted to create a new form of theatre and to explore new writing. The idea of taking something in its infancy and then working at it with like minded people, creating, and evolving really attracted me. It has taken me nearly 2 years to find a method of working and I am still learning. But fundamentally we workshop new works and use a collaborative, laboratory set up to bring out the best in a piece of work. This involves many stages and I like to wait before unleashing a piece on an audience. Wait until we are all 150% happy with it. I’ve never understood what the rush is. I would rather wait months even years and have a real gem, than muddle through with something mediocre in a matter of weeks. For me marrying the writer and director is a very important part of the process- once you get two like minded people together- that’s when the creative sparks fly! And it gets fun. I left RADA in 2002. Before that I worked as a Publishing Assistant at Sweet and Maxwell, the legal publishers- my first proper job after University. I studied Law at Cambridge and left there in 1998. So it’s taken me a while to get here!
Christina CourtenayI’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) for about 10 years and being on their New Writer’s Scheme helped me get published, first with Regency novellas for DC Thomson’s “My Weekly Pocket Novels” (I’ve done three and a fourth is coming soon) and now historicals for Choc Lit. They’ve just published Trade Winds, my first full length novel. I’m an RNA committee member, currently responsible for the Love Story of the Year Award and I’ve won two of their prizes - the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2001 and the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006. At the moment I’m hard at work on the revisions for my second Choc Lit historical which is called The Scarlet Kimono.
City-LitI’ve always freelanced as a journalist, even when doing full time jobs, and have written features and comic series for quite a lot of newspapers and magazines, from The Times and Metro to ES Magazine and Wedding and Home. I’ve also written radio comedies and series for Radio 4 and 3 – most recently Fear and Loathing in Crouch End. I’ve written two humour books, I Hate the Office and Forty-fied: How to be a Fortysomething. I’ve got a couple of ongoing book projects that I’m trying to fit in with running the publishing company.
Clare SambrookSince leaving university twenty years ago I’ve earned my living as a writer.
Starting out as a reporter on the John Lewis Gazette I clambered my way up through magazines, worked shifts on the tabloids, then broke through to a national staff job with the Daily Telegraph, not a natural home for me, but great boot camp.
As a freelance I’ve written for, among others, the Guardian and Private Eye. With my partner Andrew Jennings I co-authored an investigation into the people who run the Olympics. It’s called The Great Olympic Swindle (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Just before Swindle we took a big financial gamble. I stopped earning and started learning how to write fiction.
Courttia NewlandThe Scholar, Society Within, Snakeskin, The Dying Wish. My New Collection of short stories Music for the Off Key is published on 1st august this year. I am
working on a new novel, Minx but I’d like to keep the storyline secret for now!

I tutor a lot for the Brit Council but I’m not at the moment. I have edited an anthology of black British writing called IC 3, and co-edited two short story
collections – Tell Tales 1 and 2.
Craig BaxterI got very into theatre in the late 1980s as a student actor at Sheffield University (where I was studying Zoology) and at the Edinburgh Fringe. After that, with some friends, I set up a theatre group (Throwaway Theatre) and, over the course of a whole year, we devised in the most desperately inefficient way a 45-minute piece about King Arthur and some earnest cabaret in support of the Sandinistas. Then we split. Musical differences. And I ran away to a publishing job in London for which I wore a suit. The world of business I found required more fabrication and improvisation than devised theatre and after about 18 months I ran away from that to the MA Playwriting course in Birmingham, then run by David Edgar. That was terrific because while on the course I was treated like a playwright even though – at that point – I wasn’t one. Doing the course gave me the confidence and impetus to write plays. And I’ve been doing that now for 15 years. I’ve had about 10 original plays produced, a few adaptations, a brace of radio plays and a handful of scripts for TV crime docudramas. In addition, I’m happy to intersperse my own self-expression with writing bespoke dramas, working to specific briefs for corporate or educational clients (such topics as literacy at work, bullying in schools, life in a market town). It’s a chance to apply the craft of playwriting and discover something of real life.

My most recent production was a short one: a five-minute one-to-one brief encounter at the Cambridge HotBed Festival.

Currently I’m working with the Birmingham Reparatory Theatre developing a play based on the some of the work done in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the genetics of altruism and spitefulness. I’ve just started a blog for them. I am working with the Darwin Correspondence Project on some dramatisations of Charles Darwin’s letters and also collaborating with ex-glaciologist singer-songwriter with Sunday Driver Chandy Nath on a radio play inspired by her experiences in Antarctica (proposal under consideration at the BBC).

When I started playwriting I naively thought I would be either immensely successful or an abject failure. After 15 years I’m neither of those things. For a year or so within the first flush of optimism about my possible writing genius I was purely a playwright but this was financially (and probably artistically too) the least successful period of my writing career. Most of the time I have given myself (and my family) the security blanket of a part-time job unrelated to playwriting, usually within publishing. I’ve worked as a secretary for a developmental biology lab, an editor for the Society for Reproduction and Fertility and most recently as a production assistant for the International Glaciological Society. This has given my working week some semblance of structure and some familiar and friendly faces to work and share coffee with at regular intervals. I also do a spot of roleplaying mostly in and around my local hospital for trainee doctors, specialising in depression, paranoid delusions and sexually transmitted diseases. This work gives good insight into other people’s lives and mental states. Useful for the writing. I don’t know if being a full-time writer would be healthy for me. When the writing is not going well, it’s good to have something (like earning some regular money) to fall back on. Certainly I have found the less time I have for playwriting, the more plays I get written.
Danny RhodesI’ve had one novel published (Asboville – Maia Press – selected as a Waterstones Paperback of the Year 2006) and somewhere in the region of twenty short stories in a variety of small press magazines.

I run creative writing workshops in support of the novel in schools and Universities across the UK. I enjoy them from an educational perspective and it helps me reach new audiences but it involves a lot of travelling, by train (which I love) and car (which I hate).
David SmithWe’re quite an unusual agency in that we’re small, and small in this business often means specialist, but we resolutely refuse to specialise. The only characterstics common to the work we take on are these: our personal enthusiasm for it and our belief that it deserves to be seen by the major publishing houses. This means we represent the most rarefied literary fiction by authors like Bill Broady and Justin Hill, serious non-fiction by authors like Jonathan Neale and Charles Pasternak, women’s comic fiction from writers like Bernadette Strachan and Fiona Gibson, thrillers, travel writing, memoir, biography, history, music – whatever excites us. One of our earliest successes was the American children’s author Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) who famously ended Harry Potter’s two and a half year reign at the top of the bestseller lists in 2003. But when Annette received the script of the first Princess Diaries novel from our New York associate back in 1998 she knew nothing about the children’s fiction market or about the editors who were publishing in that area. But she loved the book so much she set about finding out, and the series now stretches to six published titles, with three more under contract, and Meg Cabot is one of Macmillan’s top-selling authors, across all categories. On our website we discourage science fiction and fantasy, because these are areas with which we are not familiar, but if something really special came in I’m pretty sure we’d spot it and get behind it.

The agency was founded in 1998 by Annette Green from a standing start. She left A M Heath, where she had learnt all aspects of agenting, with no bankable clients, so she had to build her list from scratch, which no other recently founded agency has done. From the start the ethos was as I’ve just described – if she loved it and thought it had commercial potential she would represent it. The agency grew and early in 2001 I joined, initially to expand the non-fiction lists, but very quickly the lines became blurred and I was taking on just as much fiction as non-fiction. If the agency were to expand again it would not be by employing assistants or secretaries – we’ve never used them and don’t wish to, because we feel it is very important for a client’s first and last point of contact to be his or her agent, in person. It would be by taking on another agent. However, we are wary of diluting the reputation we have of taking on clients sparingly and only submitting to publishers work of the very highest quality. We don’t need to meet the targets or fill the quotas which I suspect might affect some of the largest agencies’ client bases.
Dawn FinchI have written extensively as an advocate of the shared reading experience for adults with children, and about the need for investment in high quality children’s libraries in schools. My first book – Brotherhood of Shades – should hit the shelves spring 2009 and at the moment I am working on the remaining two books of the Brotherhood Trilogy.

I am a children’s librarian and run a very large school library and I also do some work running workshops to help parents, carers and teachers enjoy the shared reading experience with children. I do this with the excellent Homework Academy – (http://www.homeworkacademy.webeden.co.uk)
This all helps with my writing as it keeps me in touch with what is hot in children’s books and also allows me to keep a fresh contact with what children really want to read as opposed to what the bookshops tell them they should be reading!
Domenica De RosaI’ve written a number of stories for children, mostly under an assumed name as they include such masterpieces as Bouncy Ben Goes Shopping and Peter Puppy’s Pizza. However, under my own name I have written two adult books The Italian Quarter and The Eternal City (both published by Headline Review). I also have a book for older children coming out next year. It is called A Horse in the City and is published by Simon and Schuster.

I have worked in publishing ever since university so have really been through the range of editorial jobs including proof-reading, copy-editing, picture research, structural editing and having long lunches with authors. My last full-time job (which I left when I had my twins) was as Editorial Director for children’s fiction at HarperCollins Publishers.
Earlyworks PressFirst of all, it’s not actually a company. By trade I’m a freelance writer, proof-editor and English teacher. My aim for the Press is to make it pay for itself. I don’t think it’s ever likely to pay the rent as well! I’ve been in contact with other writers and small presses for years, as a writer and a lover of non-mainstream publications but as most people do, I spent the first ten years or so of my writing career as a lone wolf trying to find a way in. A couple of years ago (and about ten years after everyone else) I started realising the potential of the Internet – the end of the ‘lonely garret’ concept! So I built myself a website, designed the club forum and started looking for writers and illustrators who would like to use it in interesting ways. Everything else has sprung from that.
Elastic PressElastic Press was started because I had been seeking a publisher for my own collection of short fiction, and had found the choice of markets to be very limited. Deciding to investigate self-publishing opportunities, I discovered that digital printing had effectively made independent publishing both flexible and affordable. As soon as I realised this then the possibility of publishing other titles, other than my own book, completely opened up. It seemed a natural gap in the market to promote those authors who had some fiction already published in the small press, and who needed something more substantial in print in order to continue making a name for themselves. Beginning with my own anthology (The Virtual Menagerie – short listed for a British Fantasy Society Award for best collection 2003), Elastic Press has since published six other books, and has a wide selection of interesting titles lined up for the next twelve months.
Elizabeth BuchanI began as a blurb writer for Penguin books which meant I was ordered to read my way through the Penguin list. I subsequently ended up as a fiction editor in Random House – so I understood a little about publishing. However, it did not mean I knew anything at all about being an author which is quite separate thing! I began with two historical novels, Daughters of the Storm and Light of the Moon. My third novel, Consider the Lily, was set in the thirties and was about a woman in an unhappy marriage taking solace from the garden.. I followed those up with Perfect Love, Against her Nature and Secrets of the Heart. Then I wrote Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman which has been my lucky novel for it has been published all over the world, hit the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a television drama by CBS in American. After that I wrote The Good Wife, That Certain Age and The Second Wife which is a sequel to Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman.

I am currently working on The Books of Hours which is the story of a missing illuminated manuscript. Why did it go missing? Who painted it and who was the woman who commissioned it and what was her story?

I occasionally do some reviewing and I welcome the chance to read other writers that I would not necessarily choose. However, I have found that – for me – it is better not to do so while I am writing as I need to concentrate on that process, otherwise I find my energies are diluted.
Emilia di Girolamo Novels: Freaky,published by Pulp Books (Spacehopper); The Ice Cream Man (still working on this for 2005).
Plays: Committed, Chemistry Set, Cell Spin, Boom Bye Bye (Paines Plough Wild Lunch) currently in development. 1000 Fine Lines (Flying Machine, Time Out Critics Choice) new production and USA tour in 2005, Finalist Derek Lomas Playwriting Competition. Falling is my latest play.
TV: Working with Clerkenwell Films on developing my own TV series and a TV single drama of Boom Bye Bye. Writing for another new series.
Poetry: The Bed, 3rd place winner in Poetry Life Open Poetry Comp 2003.
Eva SalzmanI’ve got 3 ½ books if you count – and I’d like to, please – a chapbook illustrated by my partner, Van Howell (his portfolio can be found on our shared web-site http://www.writersartists.net). My latest book, Double Crossing: New & Selected (Bloodaxe), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, got me a Society of Authors Cholmondeley Award and an Arts Council Grant.

I thought myself young for a “Selected” (happy delusion!), although this isn’t quite as terminal-sounding as a “Collected”. In one of the more disgraceful recent episodes from England’s literary annals, Oxford University Press closed its hundred-year-old poetry list, stranding many poets. Eventually, I returned to my first publisher, who reprinted the earlier work too.

Some writers stick to one genre, but it doesn’t seem my style to keep it simple. I write fiction, non-fiction, lyrics, libretti - including for my composer father and singer Christine Tobin – and I collaborated with another UK-based American poet on an as-yet unproduced film script. My fiction has been broadcast on BBC radio and published in anthologies in the US and UK. To say I’m “working on a novel” sounds so clichéd. Who the hell isn’t? The truth is: I should be working on my novel Broken Island… instead of writing this! Recently, I had a residency at Villa Mont Noir in France, but that period of uninterrupted and paid time, wasn’t long enough. I wonder if patrons still exist. I wonder too about that rich boy from high school. Although he was mean with money, which is presumably how the rich get rich.

Other work besides writing; ie. Editing, dramaturgy, tutoring, and how it works for/against your own writing

I can’t understand how genuinely self-supporting freelancers survive without sticking their fingers into different pies. Not knowing when the next job will come along, I find it hard to “no” to work. But if the paid gigs, taken on to support the writing, begin to replace it, then what’s the point? I get work precisely because I’m writer, so if I’m not writing, I feel a fraud. Peek behind some ostensibly self-employed writers who aren’t buried by a weight of teaching, and you’ll often discern a network of support: a partner’s income, a trust fund, domestic or secretarial help, or all of these.

I’ve taught all ages and levels – children to postgraduate level – and in every conceivable situation: for community projects, the disabled and in prisons. Middle-class and Jewish guilt are potent driving forces too. In some way, I think I want to be worthy of my fairy-grandparents who’d given me an enormous head-start. And I wanted to try to give something back to society, if that doesn’t sound too grand. If done well, teaching drains your life-blood, so the price to one’s own work can be high.

These days I do more private mentoring than formal teaching, although I did enjoy co-devising Start Writing Poetry for the Open University and always like editing work. During my prison residency, I edited a magazine (and made a few short films). For some years, I put my heart and soul into a magazine called “The (Printer’s) Devil”, which was a learning experience in ways I’d rather forget. Currently, I’m editing a collection of writings from Ruskin College, Oxford and Women’s Work (Seren), an anthology of poets from around the globe. These projects are so overdue, it’s not funny.
Eve AinsworthFor as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating stories. When I was little and before I could write, I used to run around my back garden making up stories out loud – the neighbours probably thought I was a little odd! When I was ten I typed out my first children’s story ‘Muddles The Mouse’ and sent it to Penguin. I received a lovely letter back, saying it had been taken to a board meeting and they told me never to give up. Throughout my teenage years my room was littered with abandoned novels and scrawled ideas. I knew I wanted to be a writer, there was a constant drive inside me, but lack of self belief held me back for a long time.

I really knuckled down to writing whilst pregnant with my first child in 2007. I wrote a contemporary/thriller and began to circulate it to agents. In hindsight, the novel wasn’t my strongest, but through it I began to understand the writing process, and I joined writing networks such as Writewords. I wrote my next novel, The Blog of Maisy Malone, and received much more favourable feedback, although I still struggled to get an agent. At times it seemed I was close, but not close enough. By now, I had discovered my voice and knew that I wanted to write Young Adult. My next book, The Art of Kissing Frogs, was shortlisted for the Greenhouse Funny Prize – yet I still couldn’t secure an agent, despite several ‘full’ requests.
Fiona RobynI wrote poetry for eight years before writing my first novel as an experiment, and have now completed three novels (which will all be published by Snowbooks). I’m working on my fourth novel. I also love blogging. I write daily ‘small stones’ at http://www.asmallstone.com, and I write about my life as a writer at http://www.plantingwords.com.
Five Leaves I worked in a radical bookshop - Mushroom Bookshop in Nottingham - for seventeen years. While I was there I played around with pamphlet publishing, under a couple of long defunct imprints, and in my last year started publishing a small handful of books. When I left, in 1995, nobody wanted to look after the publishing side of the business so I took it with me, changed the name of the imprint and changed what was published. Five Leaves' best selling book, however, is one that I first published at Mushroom - The Allotment: its landscape and culture. The book has now run to a second edition and five reprints. In bad years that's the book that keeps Five Leaves afloat! By the end of March 2004 Five Leaves will have brought out 75 titles, though not all are still in print.
Fuselit MagazineFuseLit began in late August 2005, when we were living in Norwich.
I am forever grateful to a university friend for introducing me to the joys of ‘speed poetry’ – a brilliant cure for writer’s block and also a great communal activity. We would all sit down with a word someone had lifted from whatever novel they were reading, whatever poster they had just seen, write for ten minutes then read out what we had. Often whatever we wrote was by no means finished, but it felt good to write something nonetheless, and the piece could often be taken away, edited and finished as a really interesting poem, or at worst, salvaged for good lines and ideas. The best part was hearing what other people had written, in which direction they had taken the stimulus and what had resulted. I wanted to extend that into a magazine, taking a random word and seeing what sprang of it, what different people made of it in their own different styles.
Gary DavisonMy first novel is called Fat Tuesday. Well, first publishable novel. I’ve written 5 others, 3 of which will never leave my office while I’m still alive. Fat Tuesday is about a 19-year-old lad who turns his back on a multi-million pound inheritance and takes off backpacking to Australia. Three months later, he makes Australia’s 10 Most Wanted. I’m currently putting the finishing touches to my second novel, which I think is coming out in the summer.

I’ve been a demolition estimator, quantity surveyor, site engineer, land surveyor and I now run my own construction company. None of which helps my writing!
Gillian CrossTell us something about your writing background.

I don’t do much besides writing. Sometimes I visit schools (primary and secondary) and give talks and workshops. I enjoy this very much and I suppose it helps to keep me in touch with young people, but I’m never sure what effect it has on my own writing. If I do too much of it, I end up feeling like a fraud.

Gillian McClureI’ve written and illustrated 18 children’s picture books. Although I do illustrate other writers’ stories, I prefer to work on the whole book, for then I’m free to play around with the interaction of text and image. I’m currently experimenting with the picture book form; pushing its boundaries out towards something akin to a concrete poem.

Apart from three years teaching in an infant school after I left university, I’ve only ever been a children’s writer/illustrator and mother, supplementing my income with sessions and talks in schools, colleges and libraries.
Gold DustI’ve launched a mentoring scheme, called Gold Dust (http://www.gold-dust.org.uk) , in response to many requests from individuals to work with them on a manuscript. I realise from my past tutoring on MAs in Creative Writing (I’ve taught at UEA and Bath Spa University, amongst others) that this is often what new and emerging writers – or those embarking on a new book - want most of all: detailed, dedicated, long-term input from another writer who is a little more experienced (and published), and who can help them on their journey to complete the work. Writers who mentor for us include myself (Jill Dawson), Louise Doughty, Jane Rogers, Kate Pullinger, Sally Cline, Carole Angier, Michelle Spring and Kathryn Heyman, and there will be others added as time goes on.
Gordon and WilliamsRoderick Gordon and Brian Williams co-wrote and self-published The Highfield Mole in March 2005. Following a review by Stuart Webb in The Book and Magazine Collector, the hardback edition sold out in a morning, reaching 156th place in Amazon.co.uk’s sales ranking. The literary agent, Peter Straus of Rogers, Coleridge & White, subsequently advised the authors, and Barry Cunningham of Chicken House, an imprint of Scholastic, has just signed them for the first two books in the series, the first of which will be released both in the UK and US in Spring 2007.

The Highfield Mole is intended to be the first in a series for young adults and is about a fourteen year-old, Will Burrows, who lives with his family in the fictitious London borough of Highfield. He is a loner whose sole passion in life is all things archaeological and, under his father’s influence, he embarks upon extensive excavations. His father, Dr Burrows, the curator of a local down-in-the-mouth museum, begins to notice rather strange people in the vicinity. While investigating them he inexplicably goes missing. This turns Will’s world upside down, and his attempts to find his father lead him into a horrific subterranean world.

RG: I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. One my earliest short stories was published in a school magazine when I was around ten years old. Since then there have been many many opening chapters and unfinished pieces - but I actually completed my first full-length novel in the early nineties, a particularly nasty thriller, which, thankfully, never saw the light of day. My wife sent the MS to JG Ballard after meeting him, but he never deigned to reply (however, I’m still hopeful!). I then entered a long stretch at a job in corporate finance in the City that really put a stop to anything else until I was made redundant in late 2001. As for my current writing, I’m dying to have time to work on several other novels which are all at varying stages of development, but the reality is that The Highfield Mole series is all consuming.

BW: I have been writing creatively since my early teens - poetry, prose, lyrics, scripts and short stories. I founded and edited a literary magazine for a short time before taking a degree in fine art. I have experimented with literature and the spoken word in performance, film, painting and recordings. I am currently working on two books apart from The Highfield Mole – they are “Vu as in Voodoo”, a collection of short prose pieces, and “Drugless and Bugless in the Land of Nod”, a collection of impossible film scripts.
CornerstonesI used to work at Penguin and part of my job was to process the slush pile. They have an automatic rejection policy, as do the majority of publishers, and I felt that while many submissions were obvious turn-downs, there were some that sparkled with promise but needed work. I wasn’t able to give feedback – we didn’t have the time or the resource – so I set up a business that could provide just that.

Cornerstones & Kids’Corner is one of the founding UK literary consultancies and has been going for ten years. We provide editorial feedback on manuscripts (MSS) for any author – published or unpublished; run self-edit workshops; and scout for agents. We work mainly on word of mouth with agents and publishers and writers. Our ethos is simple: if I can talk to an author and tell them in five minutes what they may spend a year finding out then I consider that a good thing all round, whether they end up using our service or not. Our intention is to coach the author through the writing and self-editing process and to raise their writing to the next level. If their MS is ready to submit we then coach the author on how to present themselves and their work professionally to the trade, or if we’re passionate about the MS then we submit it to agents. We have lots of schemes going on – competitions, top tips, and announcements on who’s looking for what. Authors should sign up to our email round-robin by emailing me at Helen@cornerstones.co.uk so they can be part of our writing community.
Our fees are competitive. We’re not the cheapest but we are good value for money considering our reader/teacher expertise and what we offer as an all-round service. Our fees vary depending on whether the MS is children’s, adult fiction or non-fiction and what type of report the author would like – General or In-depth. The fees also reflect word-length. So, to give an idea of range, it can be £140 + VAT for a report on three picture books, £226 + VAT for an In-depth Report on a 40,000 word middle-reader novel, to £350 + VAT for a General Report on a 100,000 word novel.
Indigo DreamsThe company is run by myself and partner Dawn Bauling, a self-confessed book-sniffer. Together we are ultimately responsible for all things Indigo Dreams. We make the final selections and oversee book formatting, printing, marketing, and, more often than not, cover design. The book starts, and stops, here! I ran a celebrity management company which handled their commercial ventures and also included ghost-writing and publishing, both poetry and fiction. Clients included Uri Geller, with his first fictional novel Shawn, Mike Read’s Elizabethan Dragonflies and cricketer-turned-artist Jack Russell’s A Cricketer’s Art.

I introduced poetry to Bluechrome and was Poetry Editor before forming Indigo Dreams. In that capacity I selected many titles for first publication, giving new poets a chance, devised and selected work for anthologies and adjudicated their competitions. I was also on the BBC adjudication panel for their Off By Heart poetry series in 2009. Dawn is a librarian by trade and worked in both libraries and schools. She oversees most of the copy-editing work and financial aspects of Indigo Dreams Publishing. Our books are distributed by Central Books and we have a print facility in the US as well as UK. Additionally we use the services of a sales agency for selected titles. Our plan was to develop the book publishing side with poetry and then move into wider areas. We now have the structure in place to do that and the progression has been very smooth.
Jae WatsonI remember at the age of nine spending rainy days with my friend during one school holiday writing novels. Mine, Anne’s Secret Wardrobe, was heavily influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia and The Time Machine. Fortunately this first attempt at novel-length fiction is safely buried at the back of my own rather ordinary wardrobe, but I continue to be fascinated by the idea of journeying into other worlds. My first grown-up novel, to be published on 31st March, is not surprisingly called Journey. It is set in India and explores the themes of physical and spiritual journeying, discovery and self-discovery. Hopefully, it is also a fast-paced and gripping story.

I am currently in the field of adoption social work and have previously worked in child protection and therapeutic services. I am continuously surprised and fascinated by human behaviour and psychology and by the way our early experience has such a profound impact on our adult selves. While my day-job is often draining, making it difficult to come home and write creatively, it also offers a wealth of material and insight into human nature. (Wow that sounds serious!)
Jane RogersI'm a novelist and scriptwriter. I've published 7 novels, of which 3 have historical settings. The best known is probably Mr Wroe's Virgins, which is set in 19th century Lancashire. My current favourite is Island, which is set in the present on an island in the Hebrides, and is about a young woman who wants to murder her mother.
As a writer I am always fascinated by voice, and use intercut first person narrators in a number of the books. In terms of themes, it always seems to me that each book is about something completely different, but when I look back on them I can see that there are two overriding themes to which I often seem to return: one, motherhood and the parent-child relationship; and two, utopias/dystopias, in the form of characters who are interested in finding new and better ways of organising societies or individual lives (on a large scale, in Promised Lands, which tackles the colonisation of Australia in 1788, and on a smaller scale – one Nigerian village – in The Voyage Home). I find the power relationships between parents and children, colonisers and colonised, men and women, endlessly fascinating, and unpredictable in their playing out.
I also write screenplays; I adapted Mr Wroe's Virgins for BBC2 and have other TV scripts which, it grieves me to say, have not been made. I write regularly for radio, some original drama and some adaptations. See my website, http://www.janerogers.org for full list of titles of books and plays.

I edited the Oxford University Press Good Fiction Guide which was a monster work and nearly drove me insane, but I am happy that it exists (and happy that it is finished!) I updated it last year so I am now free of it for a while. It was good to share enthusiasms about books, and I love it when I meet Readers Groups who are finding the book valuable; but the administration of working with 60 contributors nearly finished me off.
I teach writing part- time on the MA at Sheffield Hallam university, where I am Professor of Writing. Teaching serious writing students is something I enjoy very much, both for the contact with other writers, and because it forces me to keep an open mind about the craft.
Jenn AshworthA Kind of Intimacy is my first published novel, although I've written two others - one which has never seen the light of day, and was finished when I was about seventeen, and another which was lost in 2004 when someone broke into my house and stole the computer I was writing it on. I also write a blog which won an award at the Manchester Literature Festival, and lots of short stories. Many of my short stories are available on line, and there are links to them from my blog.

My main project at the moment though, is another novel - I'm a fair way through, and pleased with it so far. It's about two teenage girls, an adult with Down's syndrome, a newsreader called Gordon, a squid and a traffic jam. I'm having trouble fitting all the parts together, but I think it's going to end up dark and funny and odd. At least I hope so!
Jim YoungerI am the author, or perpetrator if you like, of High John the Conqueror, published by Jonathan Cape in May this year. Now that I have permission to write, I can get on with the umpteen other books I have lined up. There are a number of novels in various stages of development, and I’ve settled on the one I want to offer next. I’m not short of good ideas or scenarios. My hope is that I live long enough to complete them all. High John has had a fair-sized clutch of reviews for a first novel and has attracted some favourable comment - and a couple of begrudgers, as I always knew it would. All I need now is good sales so that the whole team scores - my family, my agent, and my publisher.

I started reading at the time of the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth (and if you’re reading this, your Majesty, I wish you many more years to reign over us). My father taught me to read with kindling sticks, when he was setting the fire. He made words for me on the hearth. He told me if I didn’t learn my letters, demons with pointed hoods and black robes would come to take me to Hell. Seems to have worked pretty well, because I’m still waiting. Readers of High John will recognise the iconography here.

My first reading was the Missal - that’s the book you take to Mass. In those days, it had Latin and English in it, so I picked up some Latin early on. The Gospels were an early hit with me - the story of Christ’s Passion and the Crucifixion in particular. I remember being taken to Wembley Stadium one Easter to see what I thought was the Crucifixion - the real thing. I thought it came round every year, like Father Christmas. I was heartbroken when the day finished with no-one nailed up on a cross. Religion has tremendous power, don’t you think?
John MurrayI'm just about to publish my eighth novel, A Gentleman's Relish with Flambard(June 2006). It's a comic extravaganza about a man who speaks 55 languages and has 55 mistresses, and how all that embarrasses his son who is a famous satirical cartoonist. My first three novels were all pretty serious and it took me quite some time to have the confidence to declare myself a comic writer. My fourth book Radio Activity(Sunk Island 1993, reissued Flambard 2004) was in part a satire about nuclear energy, and it was highly praised by Jonathan Coe and DJ Taylor, and that gave me the confidence to keep on with comedy.

I was founder-editor of Panurge fiction magazine which David Almond and I worked on from 1984-1996. It got a huge reputation for printing exclusively very talented new and unknown writers. For example Patrick McCabe and the late Julia Darling appeared there before anyone had heard of them.

I've also been regularly tutoring fiction at Arvon since 1989 and I've led fiction workshops at Madingley Hall, Cambridge every summer since 1995. (The next one is in July).

My latest venture is a one man fiction consultancy, basically providing very detailed manuscript assessment with optional one to one tutorials. Clare Sambrook(Canongate 2005)and Gareth Thompson(Random House 2006) have gone on record as saying I helped them enormously with their works in progress. But I help all levels, including absolute beginners.
Jon HaylettI’ve written ten novels and over fifty presentable short stories. Two of the early novels were taken up by London agents but neither found a publisher, so it wasn’t until Keirsten Clarke at PaperBooks published Cry of the Justice Bird in 2007 that I saw my first novel in print. My new novel, Black Mongoose, is out in April 2009. By contrast, my short stories found consistent success from the start, with the highlights being when The Crossing won the prestigious Bridport Prize in 2003 and Bendera Beach won the Royal Society of Literature’s VS Pritchett Prize in 2004. Currently I’m concentrating on short stories, where I continue to win prizes in major competitions.
Josa YoungFrom Dame School, where I would while away the boredom writing stories about fairies (illustrated) and sucking raffia (nice and sour) through Cambridge, where I read English and embarked on my ill-advised homage (French accent, drop the H) to Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch, and out into the world of magazines via the Vogue Talent Contest, I have always written. My first published novel, One Apple Tasted – a romance or entertainment – is published 7 August. The next one is called Sail Upon the Land, currently in production.

I wrote several bit of novels over the years, while working as a journalist, both print and online. Supporting a family meant long hours in offices as an editor, where I specialised in maternity leave contracts at senior levels – ie deputy editor of Elle Decoration (where my lack of knowledge obscure 1950s architects went down a storm); features editor of Country Living (where I commissioned a feature about country ghosts to liven things up a bit); commissioning editor on the Times Weekend (Thursday evenings following the wine tastings were fun) etc. I have also done internet editorial at AOL UK (maddeningly corporate) and ivillage.co.uk (where you will find my pregnancy diary from nine years ago still).

For me, writing fiction has to be done in great vomity splurges – eight hours typing madly is the best method for me. As you can imagine, working in offices and looking after my family worked against this, which is why my output is not dozens of other novels lurking in a bottom drawer.

Julia BellI’ve written two novels – Massive (Young Picador 2002) and Dirty Work which is forthcoming in January. Also I co-edited The Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan 2001) while I was teaching at UEA.

I’m currently working on several new projects – a new novel for Young Adults called Disser, an adult novel and various short stories. I quite like having several projects on the desk at once – when I get stuck with one I can add a bit more to the other . . . I seem to work best in two or three week cycles – taking that time to write a new chapter or a story. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the teaching, a kind of necessity in order to keep the work manageable alongside the teaching.

I have a lectureship at Birkbeck which I enjoy a great deal. I love the conversations that emerge in a writing workshop, the way that students get passionate about their writing and reading. It stimulates my writing. Although I do think it’s best not to teach too much . . .
Kate LongSince 2004 I’ve had three novels published: The Bad Mother’s Handbook, Swallowing Grandma and Queen Mum. My short stories and articles have appeared in the Telegraph, Woman’s Own, Woman & Home, The Sunday Express magazine and The Sunday Night Book Club anthology. I’ve also had earlier pieces in the Real Writers and the Bridport anthologies. At the moment I’m working on my fifth novel.

Kathryn Haig I’ve had six books published, the latest being A Time to Dance (Corgi) and have been writing since about the late 80s. I write historical novels, most set in the early part of the last century.
Kia AbdullahI completed my debut novel, Life, Love and Assimilation, in early 2005 and it was published a year later. It follows the story of a young Asian Muslim girl living in East London and all the problems that she faces including arranged marriage, discrimination and drug abuse in the area. I have written articles about various topics including the 7/7 bombings for Eastern Eye newspaper and am currently writing my second novel (working title Child’s Play) which is a crime thriller and very different from my first novel.

At the moment, I’m juggling writing with a full-time job in Computing so I don’t really have time for much else including a social life!
Kit PeelThe first paid writing job was in Johannesburg, shortly after university. I started writing freelance for a couple of the national newspapers – initially pieces on what was going on in the townships, off-beat features, travel; they paid the bills. After a year I started to focus on more in-depth reports into government mismanagement, which led to similar commissions. After three years in Africa, in late 2000 I came back to the UK. I worked for Reuters, developed a documentary for BBC, drove a minicab around London for a couple of months in the gap between. During that time I began writing a book. Then for the next few years I worked as news editor/director at Global Radio News, managing around 200 freelance reporters around the world. 24/7 work, but a genuinely groundbreaking alternative to traditional newsgathering. It was also fascinating being in constant contact with stories around the world, from the wires and our correspondents. While doing this, I was writing the libretto for an opera project with a friend and composer, Emily Hall. Sante and Augustine – was originally based on a true story of three young Rwandan girls who in 1981 had visions of the Virgin Mary, followed by premonitions of the genocide that took place there 13 years later. This opera was recently commissioned for full development by the Genesis Foundation. The book (more or less an old fashioned kid’s book) was sold to Hyperion in the US and will be published in 2005. I spend the rest of my time working on the second draft of a play which I wrote over Xmas 2003 and going to see as much performance poetry (and writing as much poetry) as I can.
Komedy KollectiveOnce upon a time, a discontented writer fell asleep during a play he "enjoyed" in a large playhouse, sponsored by jointly the wonderful makers of Valium and Horlicks. Soon afterwards, a group of anarchistic renegade creative writing hobbits got together with a revolutionary vision to create fast moving, visual, fiendishly terrifying theatrical product with a powerful counterculture aftershock.

"Hatched from a dog egg in a kerbside gutter", the gruesomely subversive Komedy Kollective plopped into public consciousness. Heavy in ultra-absurdity, gross out gore, and cutting edge satire (plus a generous helping of that hideously sticky jelly you get in tins of Whiskas catmeat), growing in stature through appearances at cabaret nights and sketch evenings, the movement began to grow in size. Blood, guts, toilet humour, and satirical innuendo, galore, our twisted minds turned to the fetishistic side of comedy horror, schlockomedy.

Sordidly erotic cabaret nights are still on the agenda, but our sights are now firmly fixed on creating a durable yet kinky stew of musikopolitiko debauchery to make the Rocky Horror Show seem like the Sound Of Music.

Currently under development, Restart is a singalong surreal schlockomedic tale of governmental double dealings, sickly fishy snacks called Colin’s Cod Pieces, the North South divide, and mad scientific experiments that go incredibly wrong.
Laura Wilkinsonwww.hagsharlotsheroines.com is a worldwide community of writers where you can publish your work and develop your creative writing skills. We accept fiction and non-fiction and can provide feedback and writing tips that are particularly focused on writing about women. It’s important to stress that we do have male members and writers too, though they are in the minority at the moment. Membership is free and provides full access to the website and the opportunity to sign up for our monthly magazine. Our Writer’s toolkit is a wonderful resource from how to use the internet for research to the perils of self-publishing. The toolkit additionally features motivational interviews with writers, like best-selling author Philippa Gregory, who share their creative secrets with hagsharlotsheroines.com.

We also aim to entertain and inspire with our extensive range of hagsharlotsheroines tales. From Lucretia Borgia to Boudica we publish work that unshackles women from stereotype. Inspiration combined with information is also to be found in our Book club area where we offer detailed book reviews across the genres.

Keeping members up-to-date is important to us and we aim to keep members on the trail of the latest competitions, events, and writing workshops. Moreover, being a website we make sure we find users plenty of interesting writing related websites to click through. Like Write Words!

We’ve grown since our original concept of writing about women from history, legend and myth. Though we will always be fascinated by herstory we know how important it is not to let history define us, or importantly, to limit our creativity. So we are now exploring new literary landscapes and actively welcome quality creative writing on all themes, in all genres to explore issues of gender and identity. We still want stories about our pasts but also our futures too.

We’re running a competition at the moment on the theme 21st Century Woman: fast and loose. The judges are an impressive line up and it’s a great opportunity for writers to get their work seen by some big names in the industry, and for the winners to have their work published on a site with a wide readership and network. Virago support hagsharlotsheroines and so there’ll be a fabulous selection of books from their stable for the winners too. There are more details on our Home page.

The history, or as we prefer to call it, the herstory behind the project is quite interesting (I think!) but it’s also rather long. You can read the whole saga in the About us section of the site. In headline terms myself and a couple of other writers started sending each other short stories about famous, and not-so-famous women during a ‘dry’ spell at work. We soon exhausted the well-known heroines and got totally hooked on unearthing the unsung heroines, the stragglers in the long march of history if you like. By this time word had spread amongst our networks and others were involved, and it grew from there…
Lawrence Bowen I directed plays and acted (quite badly) at university. Then worked at Macdonalds. Then worked as a script reader for lots of places like The National Theatre, BBC, Yorkskire TV, Central etc Then set up and run a charity called First Film Foundation for new writers and film makers. Then worked for half a year at the BBC making a one-off drama (“Paradise” by Anna Reynolds).
Lee JacksonI’ve written seven Victorian crime/mystery/detective novels (plus a large number of first chapters, which never amounted to much) published in the UK and France. Also a couple of non-fiction books relating to Victorian London and the very occasional piece of journalism. The 19th century – London in particular – is my personal obsession. Hence my compendious website www.victorianlondon.org, which not only serves as my electronic brain but is frequently credited by other authors (often more successful authors, too – darn them!). I’m currently working on something about ‘feral youth’ in the 1890s.
Malcolm BurgessI’ve written funny series and features for newspapers and magazines for years – as well as doing either a part-time or full-time day job. Recently I’ve started writing for radio and had a comedy, Fear and Loathing in Crouch End – the story of eighteen year old Estonian au pair Monika Kass and the dysfunctional North London family she works for - on Radio 4 at Christmas. We’re now working on a sequel and I’m hoping it will also work as a book. My 500 Reasons Why I Hate The Office book comes out on September 7 from Icon, based on recent Metro and Times newspaper series about office life. There’s a section on working from home based on my own writing experience and I hope it rings true with other writers! I’ve just been commissioned to write another ‘funny’ book for my publisher and expect to be working on this over the next six months, as well as pitching more ‘one-off’ radio comedy ideas and there’s possibly another newspaper series in the pipeline too. It would be good if Fear and Loathing gets taken in book form. I’m sure I’ll find the time, don’t worry!

I work as a literature manager for a local authority which includes running a big book festival. I meet many brilliant creative writing tutors and just know that I’d be terrible.
Maria McCarthyI started off as a press officer for a variety of charities (MIND, Shelter) and wrote copy for their leaflets and reports. From my mid-twenties I made intermittent attempts at fiction – first for Mills and Boon, then a schlocky (and I mean that in a good way) romantic suspense novel. I had ‘encouraging rejections’ but never got any further.
In my early thirties I started sending off ideas and features to women’s magazines as a way of generating some cash. I’ve never had any formal journalism training or worked in-house at a magazine so just had to figure out how to approach editors and put a feature together as I went along. Eventually what started off as a sideline grew until it became my main source of income and I now write for a range of magazines including Cosmopolitan, Company, Red, Prima, Woman and Top Sante.

I wrote The Girls’ Guide to Losing Your L Plates – how to pass your driving test published by Simon and Schuster because it was the book I’d longed to read when I was struggling to pass my own driving test. I’d learnt from friends that I wasn’t the only one to find parallel parking hellishly difficult or feel completely mangled by driving test nerves. I wanted to provide a book that was informative and supportive but also entertaining – an alternative to the usual dry driving guides.

I teach freelance journalism at Bath University and give workshops on Writing for Publication (the nuts and bolts of approaching editors, getting an agent, money, copyright issues etc). I love teaching as it gets me out of the house and stops me from turning into too much of a sad git.
Mark BoothI have no formal education in writing – everything I’ve learned is from doing. I write both professionally (scientific papers) and for recreational purposes. The dryness of the scientific output contrasts nicely with the humour I inject into my creative work – you can guess which I prefer to spend time doing.

I’ve written many short stories over the years, mainly just for fun. Last year I published a humorous novel based on a blog about a fictional scientist called Joseph McCrumble. The blog was written on-the-fly and the book was published to raise money for a charitable venture I co-ordinate to raise money for safe water projects in East Africa.

McCrumble is a parasitologist –My professional background contains a large chunk of parasitology, and fictional parasitologists are a bit thin on the ground. The niche was just waiting to be created/filled. I can confidently say that McCrumble is the only parasitologist in a major role anywhere in literature.

At the moment I’m preparing a sequel to the book. The story in progress is about Denise – McCrumble’s former receptionist who saves him from conviction on assault charges by seducing the accuser (McCrumble’s childhood nemesis, Toby Hancock-Jones). It’s an absurd yet moving tale of self-sacrifice and sexual awakening wrapped up in an odyssey of tramping from Scotland to Kings Lynn.
Meg PeacockeI seldom write anything but poetry. I’ve three collections from Peterloo Poets: Marginal Land, 1988, which is out of print, Selves, 1995, and Speaking of the Dead, 2002 reprinted a couple of times. At present I’m working on a “new and selected” and slowly putting together poems which I hope will be accessible to young people but still be real poems.

I’ve done a good deal of tutoring; I enjoy giving readings and running workshops; at the moment I’m judging a couple of poetry competitions. I wish I had two heads, though, one for the public things and one for my own writing, because the processes are so different and the first often gets in the way of the second.
Michael RidpathMy first book, Free To Trade, was published in 1995. Since then I have written seven more financial thrillers. A few years ago I decided to change genres and begin a series about an Icelandic detective named Magnus. The first book in this series, Where The Shadows Lie, was published this summer and I have almost finished the second.

I have been wary of doing work outside my own novel writing, I am afraid it will distract me and be counterproductive in terms of income earned. But I have no proof that this is the case.
Michelene WandorMy writing background is, I realise, very varied. When I began writing seriously, and earning my living from writing, I was reviewing (theatre, poetry, film), writing plays, writing poetry, and, after a few years, I began writing short stories. I’ve been writing for radio for over twenty-five years. I’ve just finished a book about the history of creative writing in the UK, called ‘The Author is not Dead, Merely Somewhere Else: Creative Writing after Theory’, to be published in 2007, and I’m finishing a Classic Serial for Radio 4. I have also written two books about contemporary theatre.

I’ve edited a number of books – including the first four ‘Plays by Women’ series, published by Methuen, and a collection about writing and gender. I find the process interesting – putting together a collection of diverse views and writings, and then patting them into some sort of coherent shape.
Michelle HarrisonMy first novel for children, The 13 Treasures, has just been published and I’m now working on its sequel, The 13 Curses. I’m currently two thirds of the way through it.

I work full-time as an editorial assistant for a children’s publisher, which I’ve been doing for nearly a year and a half now. It’s my first publishing job and has been a real insight to me as an author to see the process a book goes through from acquisition to publication. It makes you realise why publishers need material so far in advance of publication for one thing - for the various departments to be able to get to work designing the cover, planning marketing strategy and selling it in. It’s also made me a lot more open to editing on my own work!
Mike Wilson I've been involved with NAWG since April 1966. I have a copy of Link magazine in which I have two haiku printed on the front page. Shortly after that I volunteered to proof read and typeset it as that was my daytime job. I did that for several years until I took over as editor. Shortly after that I was voted onto the management committee and have served ever since, now being the Chairman of NAWG. I would never have thought I had it in me to do the job.I have self-published three books about Bridlington, all paid for out of my own pocket. None of them owe me anything, and even now I look at them and am still pleased with the results. I have had a lot of local history pieces published in Yorkshire magazines. The one thing I haven't won anything in is in the field of poetry, although I was runner-up in the children's poetry category in NAWG's competition for 2002. I won the best ten-minute one-act play in 2000, depicting what went on at the millennium meeting of the British Confederation of Fallen Angels. I enjoyed writing that! With Diane I've also written and performed in four pantomimes at a local restaurant, and also created four murder mystery evenings there. They were fun! We have written a dramatic piece and poetry for our performance in the local Harbour Museum, where we entertain visiting schoolchildren. Once again we are acting out the drama of seafarers' lives in Bridlington.I remember having a short poem published in the school magazine when I was twelve, but I bet my mother did most of it! It wasn't until much later that I tried again. I took part in the town play mentioned above and discovered the story of Kit Brown, the lifeboat hero. After learning what I could, I wrote it down as an article and sold it to Yorkshire Ridings for £70! However, it must be said that I should know how to write articles. As a typesetter in newspapers and magazines for over 40 years I've handled reams of the stuff.
Milly JohnsonI’ve been writing jokes and poems for greetings cards for many years now, which is still the ‘day job’ but the dream was always to write a novel. I stopped ‘faffing about’ when I hit forty, sat myself down with a ‘now or never’ approach and churned out ‘A Spring Affair’ in about three months. I was terrified my agent would think I might be a one trick pony so as soon as I had finished novel 1, I wrote ‘The Yorkshire Pudding Club’ (which they thought was the stronger concept for a debut novel) Then ‘The Birds and the Bees’ followed. I’ve just finished ‘A Summer Fling’, which is about the cross-generational friendship of five women, and am halfway through novel number 5 ‘Here Come the Girls’ about a group of friends on a cruise ship. I write a column for a local magazine and the occasional newspaper article and short story too – when time permits.
Neil J HartMy first novel ‘Spritz’, which came out earlier this year, is a black comedy / crime fiction about striving for success when everything around you is falling to pieces. It’s primarily about hopes, dreams and the human condition but played out against a backdrop of farcical scenes, comic book villains and the hum of everyday banality. I wanted to create something that was touching and heartfelt whilst bordering on the ridiculous. I use ‘what would happen if Jerry Bruckheimer produced an episode of Eastenders’ quite often to describe it. Spritz has just been signed up to an audio book deal and should be out later this year.

I’m currently working on three other projects. A sequel to Spritz, working title ‘Spritz: Uncovered (The Curse of Captain Moonblood)’, a screenplay with fellow writer Cally Taylor (who’s currently finishing her novel ‘Diary Of A Dead Girl’) and ‘The Madison Chronicles’. The latter is the furthest along and can be described as ‘His Dark Materials’ meets ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ with a bit of Nietzsche / Greek Myth thrown in. It’s a psychological thriller about childhood memories, imaginary friends and psychiatry. It’s really challenging but that’s what I love about writing. There are no limits.
Nick StaffordI’ve been writing plays professionally since 1987. The first was for the Half Moon Young People’s Theatre. I’d written a one-man show when I was at drama school that I developed into a play that they read, then they commissioned me, then I became writer-in-residence, and got other commissions, mostly from small-scale touring companies like Avon Touring and New Perspectives; also Birmingham Rep, with whom I still have a fertile relationship. An Artistic Director saw a play of mine there and asked me to go to The Young Vic as writer-in-residence. I adapted The Snow Queen which ran for two years there and has been done in other places. The National Theatre Studio took me up, as they have so many, which has led to all sorts of projects there and in the National Theatre, including a play in the Lyttleton. The RSC have also staged a play of mine, in The Pit. I’m currently adapting a book for the National, for the Olivier, and a new play is opening at Birmingham Rep in May 06. Another medium I’ve worked in is Radio Drama. I had several plays on R4 for a while, but this opportunity seems to have dried up for now. Over the years I’ve also been commissioned to write movies and television drama, but nothing’s been filmed, apart from a short the BBC made.

When I’ve been writer-in-residence I’ve run workshops. I’ve been an Royal Literary Fund Fellow for three years, at Roehampton. I’ve also helped other writers with scripts, informally.
Nik PerringI’m the author of the children’s book, ‘I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?’ I’ve also had success with short stories, for both children and adults, and poetry – most recently contributing to the Anchor Books anthology, ‘A Bedtime Poem for Every Day of the Year’ which is out at the end of October.

I’m currently working on a few projects – a couple of novels for children and one for adults.

As well as writing, I lead story writing workshops, mainly for primary school children, but occasionally for adults as well (though not at the same time!

Oblong MagazineOBLONG is a strikingly individual quarterly print based arts magazine launching this August. The magazine combines intellectual ideas and articles with an anarchic wit and a strong appreciation for the absurd. While rooted in the visual arts, OBLONG traverses the boundaries of science, politics, history and nature. It’s a kind of creative menagerie packed with oddball ideas, seductive imagery, informed debate and quirky left-field thinking.

Patricia CumperI’ve been writing for the theatre in the Caribbean and in the UK for nearly thirty years, all told. I like to think of myself as a story teller and to reduce what good theatre is to its very basics: an interesting story, well told, in a believable world. Also, much as I admire clever theatre, I hold writers that are emotionally true and brave in even higher esteem. I have written a couple dozen plays, more than sixty episodes of Westway, the world service radio soap, single plays and serial dramas for Radio 4, a novel, short stories and a number of write- and-reads for Radio 4, among many other things. I am a story teller.

I have worked with Talawa on and off for six or seven years, not only as a commissioned writer, but as a script reader, member of the Channel 4 sponsored writers’ group, writing tutor for students from six year olds to those in their twenties, facilitator, assistant director and dramaturge. In that way, I got to know and appreciate the work the company was doing, and began to develop my own ideas about the direction Talawa should be taking.

I believe it is important for there to be a black theatre company of Talawa’s size for a number of reasons. I feel that when cultures meet, change happens. Over the last five hundred years, Black culture has had a huge impact on Western culture. Jazz, carnival, tap are just a few of the forms that have emerged from that mix. The Black British community consists is a hugely varied one with people from Caribbean, African as well as long established Black British communities in the mix. Talawa needs to be there to document and celebrate that synergy.

Talawa must also provide opportunities for Black theatre artists to create entertaining and original work that examines the issues that interest them and their community, and be the place where the full range of the Black experience is explored. We also need to make each production a training ground, a place where new talent can learn from the more experienced or where older heads looking to move in a different direction can hone their skills, so that they can gain the training and experience that allows them to move out to work in the mainstream theatre. It must also be that place where Black artists can lay down the burden of representation and simply be respected as artists.
Patrick DillonMy first books were two thrillers back in the 90s called Truth and Lies. They were fun to do, but I wasn’t really interested in keeping going with them – apart from anything else, I couldn’t think of another name. After that I decided to give all my attention to writing history. My two passions were London and the early eighteenth century, and I found the perfect subject to combine them: the eighteenth century gin craze which most people know through William Hogarth’s print Gin Lane. The gin craze was a truly extraordinary episode and has a brilliant cast of characters – it’s rare to find a story from that time that combines high politicians with London low life. Best of all, no one else had written about it. The Much-Lamented Death of Madam Geneva was my first serious book and got me hooked on writing about the past.

While researching it I became more and fascinated by what had triggered the turbulence of eighteenth century England. That took me to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and my next book, The Last Revolution. It was a much bigger canvas to paint on. As well as huge political events I wanted to capture social and economic shifts, the birth of science, and the first steps of stockmarkets, insurance and new economic ideas. Most important of all was the human drama behind the revolution. There was a brilliant moment during King James’s escape when he found himself in a pub with an ordinary fisherman. He’d never met a fisherman before; the fisherman had never seen a King. That moment captures for me how extraordinary and radical 1688 was.

Meanwhile I’d started a family and begun telling my children stories from history – stories like King James and Harry Moon the fisherman. That started me thinking about The Story of Britain. To begin with I told my children stories I made up. We go to France on holiday and can see an old castle from where we stay. I started telling stories about the castle. Then I began answering their questions – who besieged it? What was an English army doing in France? More history followed and I began to see how all the stories could link together into one big story.

Like most writers I began pretty much as soon as I could hold a pen. I wrote stories of all sorts, but always loved writing essays – ‘non-fiction’, if you like – as much as stories. Writing history really followed on from that, just as writing for children followed naturally from storytelling.
Paul ReedI've had my first novel published. It's called The One and it came out in October 2003. I've also written a piece for a magazine, The Point. I have written a few shorts but these were really just for fun and practice so they've not been published. I am currently working on a sequel to The One.
Peter RobertsonTo date I have written about aspects of Argentine culture, mostly for Chris Mitchell’s “Spike Magazine”, and I have published literary translations—of writers such as Ronsard, Éluard, Rubén Darío and María Teresa Andruetto. I have also translated stories by the Spanish writer, Juan José Millás, and on the basis of these translations I was chosen recently as Emerging Writer by the Emerging Writers’ Network. Over the next few months, I will start writing short stories, and will continue to indulge my passion for literary translation. For example, any day now I will start to translate more work by Andruetto, a compelling writer who deserves to be better known by the Anglophone reading public. This is an exciting period of my life, now that I have arrived back in Buenos Aires, because while I continue to work as a United Nations linguist, I am also starting to meet more and more Argentine writers. A case in point is Ana María Shua—we will be meeting later this week with a view to discussing possible collaborative projects.

I am currently the Associate Editor of the New-York based literary review, “The Mad Hatters’ Review”, published by the incomparable Carol Novack. In this connection, I was responsible for conceiving and editing the “Viva Caledonia” feature which came out in February and showcased new work by twelve of Scotland’s most distinguished writers. In the same feature, I also ran an interview with the Scottish artist, Calum Colvin. These days I am working on another feature, “Eclectic England Part 1”, which will be going to press on July 1st. With regard to teaching, before embarking on my career with the United Nations, I worked as a teacher for several years, mostly in Madrid. I certainly miss the rapport with students, and the cross-fertilization of ideas, and will somehow find the time to take on some Argentine students this time round. Dramaturgy? Not as such, although I acted while at University. I’m not particularly interested in writing for the theatre but would like to write some radio plays at some point in the future. Anyway, all activities are grist to the mill for the writer.
Preethi NairI have three books with HarperCollins: Gypsy Masala, 100 Shades of White & The Colour of Love. 100 Shades of White is being adapted for a BBC drama. I have done a few plays for radio 4 and am currently working on a play for theatre.

I also run story workshops to teach people how to be more creative.

Rebecca StrongI’ve written my first novel, Here or There, which was published by Legend Press on 28 July 2007. I have always loved words, language and literature, and wrote many poems from a young age as well as some short stories. This was my first attempt at writing a novel, and it was as satisfying to prove to myself that I could do it as it is to have it published. I’ve also written various articles in the past, and currently I’m focused on my first publication so I’m not writing fiction.

I currently work for an intellectual property company that owns the rights to various literary estates. I work on the legal and rights side of things, so it’s not such a creative role, but it is very useful for learning about copyright and protecting your work.
Ron MorgansI have three paperback thrillers available. The Deadline Murders, Kill Chase and The Emerald Killers. All are part of a series named The Fox & Farraday Mysteries. They are here in the WriteWords book shop and all over the internet.

Promoting the three titles myself is a full time job. In between I’m formulating the 4th book.

I joined Fleet Street as a 17 year old trainee, intending to be a reporter. My bosses discovered I thought in images. I was put onto the Picture Desk to work with photographers. I guess I must have been okay as I was a photojournalist for 30 years, picture editing the Daily Express, the Today newspaper and the Daily Mirror, responsible for their picture coverage. On the Express of the 70's I had 51 cameramen. Now there are 2. You can see where it's going..

But I wrote in what little spare time they left me. I resigned from the Mirror in 2000 to write thrillers in Spain. April Fools Day. How auspicious is that? After 7 years hard graft, using my experiences in newspapers for the plots, I had three.
Rosy ThorntonMy first novel, More Than Love Letters, was published by Headline Review in November 2006. The paperback will be in the shops (well, maybe some shops, with a bit of luck…) towards the end of next month. I am already getting quite shamelessly and embarrassingly excited about this, because the hardback was not on general release but mainly for the publishers to send out free to their customers and as review copies, as well as internet sales and sales to libraries. The first time I see my book on an actual bookshelf in Waterstone’s is going to be… well, unimaginable.

My second one, Hearts and Minds, is currently with the copy editor and is due out in hardback this November followed by paperback in the spring of 2008. Number three is ‘in development’, you might say (with grateful thanks to my new mates in the WW Women’s Fiction group for their input and encouragement): the characters and rough outline are there and I am about 20,000 words into a first draft.
Sally NichollsMy first novel, Ways To Live Forever, is going to be published by Marion Lloyd Books at Scholastic in January 2008. It’s structured as a scrapbook written by an eleven-year-old with terminal leukaemia, full of things like pictures, lists, questions, stories and definitions. Running along behind them is Sam’s own story about everything that’s happening to him in the last three months of his life. Scholastic UK are marketing it at teens and adults and Scholastic America are marketing it at nine-to-twelves and adults.

I’m currently working on a second children’s novel, working title The Green Man, based around the pagan myth of the summer god who dies in winter and is reborn in the spring. The rebirth story is mirrored in the grief narrative of Molly, a nine-year-old whose mother has just died.

I work three mornings a week as an administrator for a little charity in the LSE. I don’t do it for the money, but because everyone I live with has nine-to-five jobs. We don’t have Internet in the flat and if I was stuck at home with nobody but a laptop to talk to, I would actually go insane.

I also find that when I write for long stretches I’ll do loads of work on the first day, a fair bit on the second, about three hundred words on the third and by the fourth day I’ll spend twelve hours playing FreeCell. I need a break.
Sara MaitlandI’ve been a professional writer for about 30 years, so I have quite a lot of “background”. The question feels a bit like asking a teacher what lessons they have taught! I have published 6 novels – one of them, Arkytypes, was co-authored with Michelene Wandor; 5 solo collections of short stories (and I have another coming out this year) and some rather wide ranging non-fiction – a gardening book, a biography of Vesta Tilley – the musical hall star - some theology, a book about how to write, two “pop-up” (paper engineered) books about Classical and Egyptian mythology. I have also had two radio plays broadcast and been a contributor to a number of collections of stories and essays. I worked with Stanley Kubrick on his text for what (after his death) became Spielberg’s AI film. I have done some journalism too. At the moment I am working on a wonderful commission for Granta (and supported by the Scottish Arts Council) – a sort of history/ autobiographical account of experiences of Silence. I am also putting together a new collection of short stories to celebrate the fact that the impressive young British director Asif Kapadia is making a film based on one of my short stories, True North, starring Sean Bean and Michelle Yeoh. Despite the range of forms, I think there are common themes in everything I write – that risk and joy, danger and beauty are inextricable entwined. Or, put another way – feminism, socialism and Christianity made me a writer and I am still trying to work out why.

I am unusually lucky (and hard work has helped) because I do very little work that is not directly related to my writing. The thing is I love to think and talk about writing as well as doing it (I also like to think and write about praying as well as doing it – hence the theology.) Because of my addiction to solitude and silence, mentoring and on-line teaching works very well for me. I have come to think that mentoring on-line actually works better than face to face, because writing is such an obvious medium for thinking about and working on writing! For three years I was mentor co-ordinator for Crossing Borders – a joint project of The British Council and Lancaster University, devised and run by Dr. Graham Mort – which delivered on-line mentoring to emergent Anglophone writers across Africa. We provided mentors for about 300 new African writers many of whom had no access at all to workshops, Creative Writing courses or, in some cases, even decent libraries. I found this so exciting that when the funding came to an end, I wanted to have a way of carrying on that sort of work. I am now setting up an email-mentoring scheme for TLC (http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk) ACE is funding this, and – through regional literature development officers – are offering subsidised places. This should be a good way of “testing the waters” to see if writers find this approach helpful. I am really excited by the potential here. Because I live so rurally myself I am very aware that we non-city folk can miss out on access, but even more than that I really believe that mentoring without personal contact has enormous strengths.

I am also working as a tutor for Lancaster’s Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing, which is more of the same sort of thing. I find this way of “teaching” really helps me to think about my own writing and to nourish it.
SciTalkThere are two main reasons for setting up SciTalk. As a scientist and novelist myself, I’m very aware of the incredible variety of ideas and images that modern science provides for a fiction-writer – and very few non-scientists know about this vast untapped source of inspiration. Secondly, where science and scientists appear in fiction, the science is all too often ‘bad science’ or inaccurate, and the scientists are unrealistic in the way they work.
I’ve always been an enthusiast for bringing scientists and artists and writers together – it’s part of what I do (see http://www.plumblandconsulting.co.uk) - so the logical next step was to set up a website where writers could search a database of scientific topics and find scientists willing to help them discover more. My collaborator, Peter Normington – he’s a physicist and information scientist – and I were awarded a grant by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, www.nesta.org.uk ) to do this – and the resource is now up and running.

My main aim is to get writers and scientists to meet – to talk to and learn from each other – and to get writers into labs or other work-places, even out on field-work. That way writers can learn how scientists interact with each other and what ‘doing science’ actually means – and eventually, if they are inspired to use this knowledge in their plays or novels, the insights are handed on to readers and audiences in turn. Knowledge about the exciting things that go on in UK science – not just the big issues, but the smaller ideas too - reaches ever-growing numbers of people.
Sean Costello The Mercat Press has been publishing books of Scottish interest since 1970 but it was only in autumn last year that we ventured into fiction for the first time with the launch of our new imprint, Crescent Books. Our first title was The One by Paul Reed. Paul is a first-time novelist from Edinburgh and his book is a remarkable achievement. It takes you inside the mind of someone suffering the torments of schizophrenia. I’ve seldom read anything as gripping, or as scary. We’ve been delighted with the reaction to the book. It got off to an excellent start with a heartfelt endorsement from Irvine Welsh, who described it as ‘a searing, incendiary and highly original debut novel’, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Crescent came about because we felt it was a shame that there seemed to be so few opportunities for new writers to get their work published, or even looked at, in Scotland. Canongate have done great things, but their focus is increasingly international and they won’t consider anything that doesn’t come through an agent. Our attitude was that there was bound to be good work out there that wasn’t being picked up, so in early 2003 we decided to start considering fiction submissions for the first time. By a very happy coincidence Paul Reed’s book landed on my desk almost immediately, and almost immediately I read it I knew we had to do it. So far The One is our only Crescent title. We are only beginning to get a name for doing fiction, so this is probably our ‘before the deluge’ period as far as submissions go. Nothing we have seen so far has impressed us in the way that Paul’s book did, but we live in hope!On the non-fiction front, our bestselling Mercat author is Jess Smith, who has written two volumes of memoirs of her life as a Scottish traveller, Jessie’s Journey and Tales from the Tent. Autobiography is one of the most difficult genres to get right, in my view, but Jess has a head start on the competition because she comes from a tradition that has a great respect for the art of storytelling and is herself a great exponent of the art.
Shahrukh HusainI’m working on a screenplay for Gurinder Chadha, (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice) a historical epic – I love writing epic drama – this is my second, apart from a rewrite I did for Buena Vista. I’ve also got two books to write in a children’s series I devised, called Ancient Civilisations, retelling the myths of different cultures. It’s part of my crusade to introduce children to mythology and its universal themes. I truly believe that knowledge of myths hones our instincts for the workings of life - a basic framework which spans the whole spectrum of human thought and action and makes us aware that it takes all sorts to make up the world from the average good guy and bad guy, through tricksters and funsters and liars or ‘tellers of tall-tales’, wise and kind people, you name it. The function and the value of good and less good. With luck it makes us more aware and less judgemental of our fellow human beings. Sorry, I got a bit philosophical there… I’m also working – for the first time since 1985 on a project that hasn’t been commissioned. It’s a novel I’ve wanted to write since I was seventeen. I suppose my best known books are the Virago Book of Witches, which I compiled, edited and to which I contributed some original retellings. It was sold out within 10 weeks of publication in hard back and is a bit of a classic now. I wrote three others for Virago and the latest, The Virago Book of Erotic Myths and Legends has gone into twelve languages! That beats Witches by four. Another bestseller was a children’s book for Barefoot Books, Tales from the Opera, illustrated by that fantabulous artist, James Mayhew. He has magic in his fingers, really, he does. That was a dark horse because publishers had been a bit coy about it. They thought opera was ‘elite’ and wouldn’t appeal to kids. It was seven years from conception to publication. Barefoot took a while to decide they’d publish it but once they did, they put everything into it. I don’t know why there’s such great resistance. These are stories full of fun and acventure; as long as you go lightly on the romance, children love them. The great thrill came when Placido Domingo who provided a quote for the cover requested copies for his grandchildren. The Goddess which I wrote some 9 years ago, a non-fiction book, has gone into several editions including one published by the University of Michigan. It made me big in San Jose, California for a while!!! They treated me like a celebrity when one of the booksellers saw my name on my credit card. It was a very strange feeling. Oddly, I ended up more convinced than ever that I do not ever want to be a celebrity author. I love my privacy too much. I’d briefly experienced something like it after In Custody (adapted for Merchant-Ivory with Anita Desai) was nominated for an Oscar. Not nice, and nothing can compensate for the nuisance quotient.

In my parallel life I’m a psychotherapist and that feeds my thinking and therefore my writing. Not, as people sometimes assume, to get stories from clients - that would be a hideous breach of confidentiality - but with styles of observations and ways of approaching and understanding human nature and ‘the impossible’. Other work includes coaching clients with writing: working through ideas, writing and setting targets. I teach occasionally – in fact I’m planning to set up a series of practical writing workshops as well as days on self-publishing and putting books on CD. I do some script editing from time to time for independent film production companies or individual screenwriters, also consultation on typescripts for children’s books and writing non-fiction proposals. But I’m jealous of my writing time and try to keep all other pursuits to a minimum.
Shelley WeinerI’ve always worked with words. Growing up in South Africa with immigrant parents, I felt like an English language/literature pioneer in my family – an intrepid and obsessive explorer in the dusty upper turrets of the Port Elizabeth Public Library. I became a journalist on local newspapers and then, when I came to live in London in 1977, an editor in a publishing house, a PR writer, and then a feature writer on the John Lewis Gazette, before I decided – at 39 – that I couldn’t be a ‘promising youngster’ any longer and set out to write a novel. That was in the early 1990s. Since then I’ve had four novels published (A Sisters’ Tale, The Last Honeymoon, The Joker and Arnost) and have just completed Summerstrand. I’ve also had quite a few short stories included in anthologies & on radio.

When I started writing fiction I knew that I’d need an additional, more reliable, source of income. At first it was freelance journalism and then, having organised and taught a series of fiction workshops in Camden Town with Alice Thomas Ellis soon after my own first novel was published, I realised how fulfilling it was to tutor/enable other new writers. Since then, I’ve lectured on the creative writing programme at Birkbeck College and, among other institutions, taught for the Open University, the Taliesin Trust, the British Council in Israel, and Durham University Summer School. A gratifying number of new fiction writers have emerged from my “First Novel” workshops in various venues, including my Highgate kitchen (where I’m planning some upcoming courses). Since 2004 I have also worked as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow with placements at Middlesex University and, currently, at the University of Westminster.

As to how all this affects my own writing … it’s hard to say. When I work with creative writers, I find myself totally drawn into the heart of their stories and engaged with what they’re trying to say. This does, I’m afraid, interfere with my own creative processes, and I find that creative writing tutoring is best done during gaps between projects. When possible. As an RLF Fellow, my brief is to assist with writing generally (essays, etc), which is much simpler and has enabled me to devote myself to Summerstrand. It’s a difficult juggling act which, it seems, most writers are compelled to learn.
Sion Scott-WilsonI work in advertising. I've created hundreds of TV, radio
commercials over the years, I've written a regular column for a trade
magazine and had some short stories published. My novel, The
Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight will be published by Macmillan
New Writers in May, the paperback will be published by Pan.
Slightly Foxed Gail and I met in 1998 when I began working as a reader, and then as an editor at John Murray, where she was already managing editor. She had wide experience of publishing, having edited, and commissioned, an impressive number of prize-winning non-fiction titles, while I had spent most of my working life as a journalist and book reviewer, on the books and features pages of the Sunday Telegraph and other national newspapers. In 1998 John Murray was a smallish independent publisher with a long history and a wonderful non-fiction list that included many of the great classic travel writers, as well as poets like Byron and Betjeman. But in 2002 it was taken over, and Gail and I both parted company with the firm. It was at this point that Gail had the idea for an elegant and well produced quarterly magazine that would concentrate on books that had stood –- and ones that would stand -- the test of time, and she asked me to join her.
Smith BrowneI started as a screenwriter. Film writing was my first form of creative writing. I wrote my first screenplay at fifteen and edited some home movies -- nothing earth shattering, but enough to start a portfolio for film school. I attended the Columbia Film Division in New York, where I continued to develop as a writer and director. Professionally, one of my scripts was purchased by a producer, who promptly disappeared into the proverbial woodwork, after which I went on to do script reading/story analysis for the likes of New Line Cinema and Fine Line Features. I also began to teach courses in film and literature, which eventually led me back to university to study for a doctorate in British literature. Today, I edit the Strix Varia, write poetry and children stories, and freelance as a film and literary reviewer for venues such as BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and the Times.

My other work is being a mother. Like many creative people, I could write volumes on the tug of war a stay-at-home parent -- woman or man -- faces trying to keep a writing life alive and vibrant (and profitable) while caring for a child. I have been lucky that poems forged in the milieu of parenthood have found publication and some recognition. But writers in my position are vigilant not to be pigeonholed or sidelined. You want to be seen in the full light of your talents; you do not want to be stereotyped or wedged into a ghetto of parent-themed writing. Editing the Strix Varia helps me achieve a balance between my home-work, my freelance writing and my poetry. It's a robust way to keep me engaged with the broader world of poetry, particularly in Britain.
Sol B RiverMy writing background is primarily theatre which began professionally following an MA in screen writing. I have also written plays for BBC Radio Four. But I’ve also been directing documentaries and a couple of short films. Oh and I recently popped up on the TV soap Emmerdale playing a reporter .. ha ha.
At the moment I am re-writing a film script which was originally written by another writer. My job is to basically edit the script as it stands by looking to see where the plot might be tighter. I am also writing a new play entitled 'Mingin TV', which has taken me a while to get to but I've been building up to it.
I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for directing work in both Theatre and television/film and continuing ongoing development. I'll also be continuing my Royal Literary Fund Fellowship work as a mentor.
Stella DuffyI've written eight novels. The latest, State of Happiness, was published by Virago in January 2004 and has been optioned for a feature film. The others are Singling Out The Couples, Eating Cake and Immaculate Conceit, published by Sceptre; and four crime novels Calendar Girl, Wavewalker, Beneath The Blonde and Fresh Flesh, published by Serpent's Tail. With the National Youth Theatre I adapted the stage version of Immaculate Conceit for the Lyric Hammersmith in summer 2003. My novels have been published in the USA, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Japan and Russia. With Lauren Henderson, I am co-editor of the anthology Tart Noir from which her short story Martha Grace won the CWA Short Story Dagger Award 2002. I've published over twenty short stories, feature articles for Elle, Marie Claire, Red, The Independent, The Guardian and The Times, and also write and perform for radio and theatre.
Steve FeaseyMy writing CV is pretty sparse. I’d never written anything until I started Changeling, so I don’t have a graveyard of manuscripts in the loft somewhere. Having said that, since I became published, I’ve been a busy bee: Changeling came out in January 2009, I’ve recently finished copy editing on C3 (Blood Wolf) for the Feb release, and I’m currently about a third of the way through C4 (no title yet).

I write full-time now. I used to work in the photographic industry with professional photographers and imaging houses. I’m a very ‘visual writer’ and I need to ‘see’ everything before I transcribe it onto the page, so maybe those years of looking at all those wonderful images taken by experts in their field had some effect on me.
Steven HagueFirst of all, I’d like to thank the Writewords community for playing their part in helping me to become a published author. When I was first starting out, I received a lot of support and encouragement from your members that went some way to convince me that I might be onto something. Writewords is an excellent resource for both first time and established authors, and I wish each of your members every success in their future endeavours. Remember – dreams can come true!

My debut novel, Justice For All, was recently released on the 15th August in the UK and Eire. It’s US noir, tough as old boots, and dark as a serial killer’s soul, and if you like your crime thrillers violent, cinematic, and action packed, then this one’s for you. It features Zac Hunter, an ex L.A.P.D. detective whose just been kicked out of the department for whaling on the lead suspect in a string of child murders. When the suspect beats the case against him on a technicality, Hunter turns vigilante to take him down, but his decision ends up putting him bang in the cross hairs of a ruthless Russian assassin, and unless he can work out what he’s stumbled into, Hunter could wind up paying with his life.
Sue MoorcroftI began with short stories for the magazine market – mainly because I’d read that a body of work of about twenty short stories might get a publisher interested in my novels. I’d sold 87 by the time I did actually sell a novel so I was a little behind schedule.

I also write serials, articles, novels and courses. And I’ve a written a ‘how to’ book about writing fiction. And I’ve edited an anthology of short stories that celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I’m a long-term committee member of the RNA so it was a labour of love (ho ho).

My work in progress is a romantic novel set in and around Brighton on the south coast of England. The probably title is Love and Freedom. I’m really enjoying writing it and wish I could go and live in Brighton for a couple of weeks to really nail the first draft.

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The EphemeraThe Ephemera is a new literary magazine whose publishers feel that the contemporary literary landscape has suffered from an over emphasis on commercialism, a shortage of intelligent, relevant opinion, and a resulting environment that not only lacks freshness but is bereft of the necessary apparatus by which this freshness could be introduced. It would be very easy for people in our position or sharing these opinions to point fingers of blame at literary agents, publishing houses, booksellers, other literary reviews, the reading public - instead we suspect that the general literary atmosphere has become stale, leading to a situation whereby our artists are starved of a connection with the past and an understanding of their importance in the present. Unfortunately there is a large section of the reading public who no longer have, or no longer have faith in, what Arnold called their own literary organ; the resulting devaluing of its principal components - correct information, taste and intelligence is a situation which The Ephemera seeks to remedy.
Tibor FischerI’m a novelist, but I’m considering haiku as I’m tired of all the typing.

Vanessa CurtisI’ve published two biographies on Virginia Woolf, a large amount of journalism and have now made a dramatic switch to writing children’s novels.

I review books for the newspapers - it’s a very good discipline as it forces me to read with care, write to deadline and be able to edit very quickly if necessary. I also co-edit a literary magazine and contribute articles, as well as commissioning others to write for us. I teach music too. All of these fit well with writing novels.
Vanessa GebbieI write short fiction, literary and not so literary. Short stories, flash fiction, micro fiction. Have done for about four years. Earlier this year I started writing stories to be heard, as well as read. I’ve just written a monologue. I suppose I will try all sorts, so long as it’s not something that will take me a year to finish!

I’ve won half a dozen competitions, been placed or short-listed in thirty or so. Lots of publications, print and web.

(Firsts as follows: BBC Southern Counties/Guildford Book Festival (2006), Charleston Small Wonder festival Short Story Slam (2006), Willesden Competition (Judge, Zadie Smith, 2006), Cadenza Magazine(2005), JBWB (2005), Cotswold Writers Competition (2005). Runner Up twice in Good Housekeeping Magazine Short Story Competition (2004, 2005), Runner-Up Fish One Page Story (2006), Short-listed Fish Short Story Prize (2005, 2006), Longlisted, Bridport Prize (2006). Commended, Writers inc. Writers of the Year (2006). I think those are the main ones.

Currently, I’m ‘written out’. I took part in a ‘writeathon’ for Children-in-Need, and haven’t recovered yet. Ten stories in as many hours. So, rather than ignore what I ‘do’, I am editing, reworking older pieces that didn’t quite make the grade.

I am Assistant Editor of the small press literary magazine, Cadenza. (Joined the board this Autumn. With Editor Zoe King, I have been sifting and sorting competition entries on and off for the last couple of months. That is a real eye-opener. Unlike most competitions, every single entry gets two reads minimum, from two different editors/judges. That is a great thing to do. You are constantly running on ‘critique’… and as I learn by critiquing, not by having my own work critiqued, it’s a very full experience for me.

I teach Creative Writing in several scenarios at the moment. To residents of three drugs rehabs - although I have been doing this for two and a half years, and feel it may be time to move on - to the homeless, and to refugees and asylum-seekers in Brighton. These last two groups are interesting: I am funded by community publisher QueenSpark Books to take these sessions, with the objective of producing enough autobiographical writing by the teams to fill two anthologies next year. It’s a fascinating thing to do, and I am privileged. I have also just finished a course of sessions at the Sure Start programme in Islington.

Does it work for or against my writing? I think it works FOR my own writing, in that this is who I am. I share this gift, if that’s what it is, and couldn’t see myself being solitary and exclusive with what I do. I love seeing the way a person who says, “Write? I can’t do that. I was told at school that I was hopeless…” gradually begins to trust themselves, and lets go… and their innate creativity astounds them. Like swimming, I suppose. We can all do this thing, I believe that firmly. It just takes a little push, a little coaxing, sometimes!

I also founded and edit an ezine specifically for writing by those whose lives have been touched by addiction, at http://www.tomsvoicemagazine.com
Will Kerley I’m a freelance director of both theatre and opera. Along the way, in the field of new writing, I’ve worked as a script reader for the National, Bush Theatre and Soho Theatre, developed plays for various independent producers and at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I have judged new playwriting competitions and have directed new plays - the first productions of Gill Adams’ Jump to Cow Heaven, which won awards at Edinburgh, Anna Reynolds’ Goodbye Stranger with a cast of 30 actors, and, most recently, Richard Bean’s brilliant new play The God Botherers, at the Bush Theatre. I’ve also directed a new opera called The Embalmer for the Almeida Opera Festival, starring Ian McDiarmid, and set in Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow.
William ColesThe Well-Tempered Clavier is Eton’s first love story, and is an evocative, tempestuous, passionate novel with classical tragic undertones. It is named after Bach’s famous collection, the music that brings the characters together, and each chapter is named after a relevant prelude.

I'm been a journalist since 1988 - and my first day in papers was, according to the Chinese, the most auspicious day of the entire century, August 8 - 8.8.88. Unfortunately though, I did not happen to start my traineeship in Beijing, but in Cirencester on the Wilts and Glos Standard. My very first story was a woman calling up to tell us that her girl was eight that day - all the eights together. I was not impressed. The news editor heard the conversation deteriorate and snatched the phone out of my hand. The story made the front page. Such was my introduction to journalism.

I spent six years on provicincial papers before joining The Sun, where I lucked out to become their New York Correspondent, as well as Political Correspondent and Royal Reporter.

Since 2001 I've been freelancing up in Edinburgh; occasionally I still teach journalists the dark arts of tabloid hackery.

I started writing books six years ago - and at the time had imagined that it would be a doddle. This was not the case. I know that many writers have waited longer than me to get their first book off the ground, but it certainly felt like a long time before I'd finally written something that was half-printable. But that is because novel-writing is a quite different skill to journalism.

As a freelance, I write for quite a number of papers - and each of them has their own house-style.

Eventually, you get used to writing in these different styles. And then one day I had this amazing revelation, when I realised that I could write convincingly in quite a number of different voices.
William SuttonI won a couple of radio play competitions. The plays were broadcast on LBC in London, which was an exciting start.
Then I decided I wanted to write books. My first novel, THE WORMS OF EUSTON SQUARE, has just been published by independent Edinburgh publisher, Mercat Press.
I’m currently developing ideas for a sequel with the same detective, another novel entirely, and a radio play set in Rio de Janeiro.

MUSIC: I had great times playing guitar for Philip Jeays in London and at the Edinburgh Festival, before realising that one unpaid job was enough. Then I moved abroad and had a Butch Cassidy-like renaissance singing Dylan and Tom Waits songs in São Paulo pubs and Italian ice cream parlours.

ACTING: I appeared in Fringe shows in Edinburgh and London, most notably Ken Campbell’s production of the longest play in the world, Neil Oram’s The Warp, clocking in over 22 hours. I gave up because I wasn’t very good.

TEACHING: I tutored Latin and Greek to survive in London, and English as a foreign language overseas. I turned my hand to subjects as wide as geography (which I never studied) and Spanish (which I don’t speak) but I most enjoyed teaching guitar and creative writing. Oh, and I tutored the Sugababes.

DRIVING: I learned to drive like a demon working on a low-budget London gangster movie, Hard Men, starring real-life ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser.

JOURNALISM: I write articles for magazines for learners of English in Brazil, France and Italy.
Writer's NewsFor twenty years - chief reporter and defence correspondent of the Yorkshire Post, covering national and international events as well as regional stories - eg Northern Ireland, the Icelandic ‘Cod Wars’, African famine, the Middle East, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the 1982 Falklands War. Later - a news editor and editor of YP special supplements, covering everything from military and local history to travel, food/wine and business. Over 35 years there has been an award for campaigning journalism, lots of news stories plus a bit of almost everything else in journalism: travel articles, book reviews, theatre/television crits, humour, a regular antiques/collecting column, a crafts column for a colour supplement, sports and business reports, local history pieces, the odd newspaper leader. Once, working in the Yorkshire Post’s Hull office, I was pressed into service as a greyhound tipster for the sports pages - not one winner. There was something wrong with the pin. Plus - contributions to non-fiction books - including several chapters in a paperback about the Police hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper; a chapter in ‘Falklands Remembered’, in aid of a forces’ charity, edited by Iain Dale, of Politico’s; am now working on a chapter for a book celebrating the Yorkshire Post’s 250th anniversary out in September.
Zoe Fairbairns Tell us about your books, any wards you’ve won, etc

My novels include Benefits, Stand We At Last, Here Today, Closing, Daddy's Girls and Other Names. Here Today won the 1984 Fawcett Book prize; Benefits was shortlisted for the Hawthornden Prize for imaginative literature and the Philip K Dick award for science fiction; and in 1998 Other Names was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association award. I've also written short stories, drama, poetry and non-fiction. You can find a complete list on the British Council Contemporary Writers website - http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth02B25O565512626655
Zoe LambertMostly, I write and publish short stories. I have just published a short story sequence with Comma Press in Ellipsis 2, with Jane Rogers and Polly Clark. I am interested in the borders between short stories and longer works, so I am working on a longer short story sequence.

I lecture part time on the Creative Writing MA at The University of Bolton. It helps my writing as I am constantly thinking about and discussing writing. I am also in the final year of a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University on British Women’s Short Stories. It links to what I write, and I get to spend every day reading short stories, but as I’m in my final year, and changed topic half way through I am writing my whole PhD in one year, so its taking up all my time.