Friday, March 4, 2016

On procrastination, unexpected windfalls and where stories come from

Writers write, right? And usually about other (albeit fictional) people, not ourselves.

However, when it's the truly lovely Eloise Millar at Galley Beggar Press who does the asking, who can refuse? Especially when it's to celebrate the strange and wonderful news that, somehow, my story Backburn was named the winner of the inaugural GBP Short Story Prize.

Elly asked me a range of thoughtful questions: from how a typical writing day unfolds, to where, exactly, the idea for Backburn had first originated.

So although this kind of thing makes me squirm a little, here it is:
It took years to feel ready to write about it. When I did, when the pieces turning over in my head started to slot together, Jacob and Moses came to me almost fully-formed. As sometimes happens, it felt less like I was creating than I was discovering a story that already existed – I was just drawing it down onto the page.
Read the rest of the interview here.


  1. Hello!
    I was wondering if i could get to read an excerpt of your short story. I'm keen on entering the Galley Beggar Press competition this year, and I just wanted to look into one of the stories, and if possible, the winning one...
    Thanks :)

  2. Hi Ishita - super to hear you might be entering this year!

    I'd happily send you the whole story, but that would take potential income away from GBP, and they deserve everything they can get. What I've done instead is update this post so that there's a longer excerpt on it.

    I know money is always tight when you're a writer, but I would also really, really encourage you to spent £3 on the other three shortlisted stories (You Must Forget, Daughters of the Revolution, and Feathered Friends). These others showcase the tremendous variety of style and approach that can appeal to GPB, and any one of them would have been worthy winners.

    In any case, hope this helps, and best of luck!