Extra information on the above, and more, can be found by clicking on the images on my portfolio Top-10 page.
Change at Crewe was a winner in this august competition. External recognition, especially early in my writing career, was a great encouragement.
Bridport Prize judge Alexis Lykiard commented “This is one of the most concise and chilling examples of the slasher genre I’ve read. Thoroughly macabre and unpleasant, but completely and horribly convincing. Unputdownable.”
Artworks are a strong stimulation for my writing and working with visual artists added extra strata. The collaboration with visual artist Christine Wilkinson explored an intimacy of words with images in different forms and materials.
Glass artist Martin Donlin and I worked on a five-metre high glass installation on behalf of Slough Borough Council. I put into context words and phrases collected from Slough residents.
Improvisation dance group Feet First Dance Theatre Company invited me to work with them after meeting at an Arts Awards ceremony. Our first public improvisation was based round my award-winning poem The Sludge Seaman Who Drowned.
For Corridor Press of Reading I wrote up interviews into articles for three community books: Bricks & Mortals, Potions & Notions and Airs & Places. I was also a member of the publisher’s executive committee.
For Slough Borough Council’s A Town Like Slough I interviewed incomers to the town for articles on their experiences and produced the artwork.
This was a very different work environment and method. With Arts Council funding I spent two terms with GCSE pupils of Reading Girls’ School devising, scripting and bringing a playscript to production. The pupils then toured the play about drug awareness round local Junior schools.
The government agency Healthy Schools Initiative were against the play being performed to Year-6. However, on seeing the play performed, with its audience interactive Forum Theatre, they encouraged an extension of the tour.
This was a venture into learning more about the production side of publication, of learning to consider one’s words as a product. With the bonus of having them available for others. The first two ebooks were of short stories in a Coffee break series. Assembling the collections utilised experience from Story Cellar but e-publishing was a new experience.
This was writing to explore written expression and its reception whether read, seen or heard. Very much a personal adventure with words. Most of the pieces started from a personal experience. Applied to this was, as appropriate for the subject, a dramatic extrapolation, or a fusion of linked images or simply a thought-stream.
This gave the recursive epithet for the series
– all fiction is recall, all recall is fiction.
A regular newspaper feature involving sourcing, interviewing with photographs and crafting the articles. The subjects were people who had embarked on something new after reaching 50 years of age. The aims of the series were defined as: to give a positive profile of older people; to purvey an upbeat image; to show how older people see the future. The first article was about starting an ethnic card making business, the final piece about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
For over four years I filed arts reviews for the Reading Post encapsulating the nub of opinion in a few words. I experienced a lot of theatre across the region as well as covering shows, poetry readings, dance events and exhibitions. It also honed my writing: meeting the editor’s deadline, getting opinions down to the required wordage, being succinct while including required content and keeping the prose fresh.
My first play No Picnic (details at portfolio) won best actress award for Lotte Jonk in the Windsor Theatre Guild festival production. Through working with directors, actors and crew of several theatre companies I appreciate how their creativity adds to my scripts and feeds back into the scriptwriting.
I was a founding editor of Story Cellar, a quarterly illustrated writing magazine for unpublished stories and poetry. The magazine organised and managed the Fenner Brockway Peace Prize for Literature on behalf of Slough Borough Council.
In the four years the three coeditors published over 150 new writers and poets along with 17 illustrators, selected from over 4,500 works submitted, read and given feedback. The longest editorial meeting was from 8pm (after the day job) to past 4am next morning.