Over the last quarter my work has been fairly solitary and quiet as I’m engaged in a longer writing project but there have been a few events and publications to report.
I have new work in LUNE: A Journal of Literary Misrule, which is based at Lancaster University. For the disease-themed issue 01, this hybrid piece, ‘Star dust’, explores love in time, transference and the malady of nostalgia via a nested trio of cover versions. Hoagy Carmichel via Nat King Cole via Patti Smith. You can read it here.
Earlier this spring another short piece of mine, ‘Peach on the Beach’, was published by Burning House Press, selected by Guest Editor C.C. O’Hanlon. You can read that here.
In May, Adam Farrer and I at The Real Story commissioned five writers working at the forefront of experimental nonfiction to create new work responding to our theme ‘In the Half-light’ for a live event during the Not Quite Light Festival in Salford. You can read the resulting texts from Maria Fusco, May-lan Tan, Joanna Walsh, Rachel Genn and Dimitra Xidous and watch films of their performances at our sold-out event on The Real Story website. It was a pleasure to work with these writers and to commission such extraordinary and original writing and performance.
In June, I wrote and performed a speech, ‘Etihad’, for Manchester Histories Festival. This was performed twice, at the launch event in the Lowry and Valette room at Manchester Art Gallery (pictured above), and the following day as part of MHF’s ‘Soapbox’ programme at All Saints’ Park. ‘Etihad’ focuses on the imprisoned UAE human rights activist and writer Ahmed Mansoor; the alliance between Manchester and Abu Dhabi; radicalism, place-making and regeneration; and how complacency becomes complicity. You can read the full text here.
I will be performing a reconfigured version of ‘Etihad’ at PechaKucha Manchester on Thursday 2 August at Fairfield Social Club. I’m enjoying the challenge of devising a more visual presentation of the work to fit the event’s format, in collaboration with Manchester design studio Dotto and activist Peggy Manning.
In recent months I’ve also had a great time performing new work at Reverb, the experimental writing and performance series at Edge Hill University, teaching a life writing and personal narrative workshop for Altrincham Word Festival, and hosting an in-conversation event with short story writer and novelist A.M. Homes at Waterstones in Manchester.
Now: summer! After some writing time in Wales and a much-needed return to my native land, I’ll be taking up a new position at The University of Salford as a .6 Lecturer in Digital Journalism, based at Media City UK. I’m really pleased about expanding my role at such a great department, and look forward to lots more teaching. As events in the media and the wider world continue to unfold in strange and alarming directions, teaching journalism has never felt like a more important job.
In September I’m also looking forward to the publication of a new piece of mine in Volume 3 of The Letters Page, the epistolary journal edited by Jon McGregor. This journal is notable both for the sharpness of its writing and the beauty of its printed form so I’m very pleased to have work in it; find out more and order a copy here.