Adventures in reading: the writing of containment to the gift of the hard-won word

My latest Adventure in reading is now available to read here. Drawing on Sara Baume, Lorina Bulwer, and Marilyn Robinson via Ellah P. Wakatama, I consider how my relationship to words has changed during lockdown, and how tangible making can be both comfort and political necessity in such times as these.

The essay has been hard to write because I have more questions than answers, and the pull between word and making has been a vexed one for my practice of late. But I’m lucky to have such wonderful writers to shape, add to, guide and provoke my thinking, and as ever it’s a pleasure to share my adventures. Click here to take a look, and you can subscribe here.

NCW Book Club: A Line Made by Walking

It’s been a pleasure to curate and produce the second NCW Book Club. This time our chosen book is A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume. Through a combination of podcasts, Zoom discussions and a Discord community, we’ve been discussing the book with readers from around the world and hearing from Sara herself about her practice as a writer and artist.

To compliment the Book Club, I’ve curated two lists for the NCW blog: questions and activities for readers and recommended reads for fans of Sara Baume.

There’s still time to get involved with the Book Club – find out how you can join in here – and in July we’ll announce our next selected book.

NCW The Writing Life podcast: exploring themes through characters with Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

A while ago I was lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ and talk to her about her award-winning debut novel Stay With Me, particularly looking at how she uses character to allow her to explore bigger themes of women’s lives, chronic illness, and family life in turbulent times. Our conversation is now available on the NCW The Writing Life podcast, and you can listen here.

NCW The Writing Life podcast: from teacher to writer with Ashley Hickson-Lovence

The Writing Life with Ashley Hickson-Lovence

In the autumn I had the pleasure of talking to poet and novelist Ashley Hickson-Lovence for the National Centre for Writing’s The Writing Life podcast. We talked about writing around the day job, committing to one’s writing practice through further study, and the joys of indie publishing. Listen to the end for Ashley’s top tips for fellow writers; his method of having a few stated aims for each project really resonated with me because you’re then writing by design, and it informs the writing on a technical level, too – it all comes back to the effect you want to create in the reader. Listen here.