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Diversity and New Stories – subsidised Creative Writing Workshops for BAME writers

‘There are stories out there we aren’t hearing.’ (Kamila Shamsie) There’s been much talk recently about diversity in publishing (viz: the lack of it), and many creative initiatives to rebalance the scales, from blogger Naomi Frisby’s #ReadDiverse2016 to essay collection The Good Immigrant (ed. Nikesh Shukla), crowdfunded in three days thanks to enormous popular support (read more)

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This Woman Can

This is a post, not about books or reading or writing, but about some thoughts I’ve had since seeing this wonderful piece by Daisy Buchanan. Daisy’s post is about abundance – an abundance of love which gave her an abundance of confidence, which gave her an abundance of sex and food and pleasure and an abundance of (read more)

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Pick a side

If I presented it to you as a possible plot, you’d shoot it down before the first draft: woman campaigns for a single female image (aside from the Queen’s) on a British banknote. Woman succeeds. Woman is subject to repeated threats of rape and murder. Where’s the motivation, you’d say, who would do that? It (read more)

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Don’t Panic

I was fourteen and the world was going to end. Four minutes, that was all we’d have, and then we’d be atomised: nothing between us and the bomb except a stupid understairs cupboard or a stupid kitchen table. Every time the Soviet Union and the States went head to head over Afghanistan, say, or Nicaragua, (read more)

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Fashion! (Turn To The Left)

I will not lie, I love dressing up. I love colour and texture; I’m a sucker for embellishment, embroidery and beads. I love over-the-knee boots and necklaces that look like breastplates. In my less confident days I dressed to be ignored (a face-covering fringe as a teenager, dark colours so I could blend in), but I (read more)

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Writers’ Wives

In recent weeks we’ve been treated to two spousal accounts of what it is to live with a novelist. There’s this, from Deborah Orr (wife to Booker shortlisted Will Self) and now these comments from Ian Rankin’s wife that, during the most trying period of each novel’s creation, the role of his family is “Chiefly… (read more)

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something for the ladies

Imagine my surprise when I opened my copy of The Bookseller on Friday and discovered a new category of fiction: Intelligent Women’s Reads. I’ll just run that by you again: Intelligent Women’s Reads. Now, I’m going to be optimistic here and operate under the assumption that the adjective is being applied to the books, rather (read more)

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Free Nelson Mandela! (and other arguments for equal marriage)

My mom brought me something fabulous the other day, a relic of my past she’d found when going through a box of old letters. Here it is:     It’s a badge I wore pinned to the lapels of a large and shabby secondhand coat towards the end of the eighties. In common with many (but (read more)

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ain’t gonna work for you no more

There’s been a fair amount of guff talked over the past week about the monarchy and its relationship with Britain. It comes, of course, as the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and – to someone well-versed in the rhetoric of the 1977 Silver Jubilee – it sometimes seems that little has changed in the last (read more)

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