Fifteen short stories and poems, all set in off-the-beaten-track Edinburgh, have been magicked into geolocated podcasts. Listeners, using the Podwalk app, can stray, escape, gambol away from the familiar tourist trail and experience Edinburgh as imagined by fifteen writers. Or, for folks who prefer to enjoy their literature on the sofa, in bed, at a café table, in the garden shed, you can listen to or read the stories and poems direct from the Echoes website on SoundCloud .
My story, ‘Pufferfish’, is set in Edinburgh’s Regent pub.
And so, I look forward to the launch next Tuesday, 16 May, and taking my first Echoes tour.
My short story, ‘Holdfast’, has been selected as a runner-up in the Sceptre Loves Short Story Competition. So pleased. I’ve grown very fond of this story, which has shapeshifted a mighty lot since I first sketched it out several years ago, and was also the starting point for my current novel-in-progress.
Sceptre ran this competition to celebrate the publication of How Much the Heart Can Hold: an anthology of short stories exploring all shapes and temperatures of love, from the platonic to the passionate to the lasting.
The winning story by Phoebe Roy will appear in the paperback anthology, to be launched in August. Commissioned writers include the wonderful Donal Ryan, Bernadine Evaristo and Carys Bray.
Tomorrow is Robert Louis Stevenson Day in Edinburgh – the annual celebration of all things RLS. This year’s theme is Stevenson on Screen and Stage and so the Scottish Storytelling Centre will be hosting a day-long banquet of readings and film clips. I’ll be reading from the wonderfully ghoulish short story ‘The Bodysnatcher’ around 11am. Other readers include Louise Welsh and my fellow Story Shoppers Kirsty Venters-Marks, Helen McClory and Pab Roberts. Do drop by…
The latest issue of The Lampeter Review is out today and, to my delight, includes my short story ‘White Nudes’.
The Lampeter Review is the child of the Lampeter Creative Writing Centre and publishes new and emerging writers while also commissioning established authors. Issue 12 includes a short story by Cynan Jones, whose novel The Dig I just love.
I’ll be reading at ‘Story Shop’ this month, a daily short-story slot at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Story Shop is a wonderful showcase for new and emerging writers run by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and is now in its ninth year. Do pop into the lovely Spiegeltent on my day, Monday 31st August. And do come along any or every day at 4pm, from 15th to 31st, to enjoy this year’s Story Shop writers.
In the meantime, here are audio previews for each of the seventeen writers.
I’m so pleased to have my short story, ‘The Rooftop Busker’, appear as the title piece in this year’s New Writing Scotland anthology. I’ll be reading from my story at the Edinburgh launch in Blackwell’s bookshop 1st September. The event is free and tickets can be reserved from Blackwell’s.
This latest anthology from ASLS, edited by Gerry Cambridge and Diana Hendry, includes new work from writers such as Anne Donovan, Jim Carruth, Lesley Glaister, Vicki Jarrett and my old MLitt classmate Duncan Muir amongst many others. And it’s been lovely luxuriating in all their wonderful writing.
My short story ‘Walking Water’ is out today in the latest ‘Outsider’ issue of Popshot Magazine.
Popshot is a thing of beauty: fiction and poetry with glorious illustration. The artist Jörn Kaspuhl has illustrated my story: I love how he has caught my character, walking water.
It’s also lovely to appear alongside the talented poet Emma Simon, my fellow Jerwood/Arvon mentee. Her poem, ‘The Fish Man’, is a beautifully observed study of another character out of his natural element.
Finally, you can enjoy a taste of Popshot 13 here.
Two weeks have already passed since I returned from my Masterclass Residency at Totleigh Barton, but the magic continues… My stay was a exhilarating initiation into my year as a Jerwood/Arvon mentee. I met eight wonderful writers – you can read about them here– and we were spun into various states of creativity during our workshops. We rewrote some D.H. Lawrence; we recast fairy tales into plays, diagnosing Rapunzel with Stockholm syndrome and introducing IVF into the Sleeping Beauty story; and we wrote a load of poems in three hours. We cooked and ate and drank – very, very well. And on the final night, compèred by the incomparable Sarah, we shared readings of our work-in-progress. Time to turn to my novel in earnest. Long may the Totleigh Barton magic continue!
The scheme, funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, selects three fiction writers, three poets and three playwrights to work with a mentor in their field. And so, over the next year, I’ll be working on my novel with the wonderful Ross Raisin who wrote ‘Waterline’ and, one of my all-time favourites, ‘God’s Own Country’.
I’m really looking forward to the year ahead, which starts with a masterclass residency in Arvon’s Totleigh Barton. Nine Go to Devon!