Big news of many kinds. First, upcoming event news: Writer Saskia Vogel and I will be talking sex, activism and the turbulent social debate around female desire at Speaking Desire, a conversation hosted by The Public Meeting. Saskia’s the author of new novel Permission (Dialogue). It’s happening at The Daisy on Tib Street in Manchester on the evening of Thursday March 7th, and tickets are £8, or £13 with a special cocktail. Booking and info here.
After that, I’m performing alongside a host of great Manchester writers at The Dark City. Part of this year’s Not Quite Light Festival, expect readings and discussion about the city’s spookier side and its identity as the setting for gothic novels, crime writing and film noir. It’s on the afternoon of Saturday March 30 at FiveFour Studios in Salford, more here.
On Wednesday 3rd April I’m hosting an event with author and filmmaker Harriet Shawcross, who will be reading and discussing her new memoir Unspeakable: The Things We Cannot Say (Canongate.) It’s a book I wanted to read as soon as I read this extract in the Guardian Review, so I was delighted to be asked to host. It starts at 6pm at Waterstones Deansgate in Manchester, tickets and details here.
In May, I’m teaching a new writing workshop focused on memory and place at Alty WordFest, and in June I have been commissioned to write and perform a new work which I can’t tell you about yet. More on these soon.
Publication news: Train Poetry Journal has published two of my prose poems, and I’ve got a piece in the beautiful limited-edition journal ONANIA which contains writing, art and ephemera about dreams, as well as a poem in the newly designed Interpreter’s House. And one of my short prose pieces which was previously only in print has now gone up on the new Banshee site. All can be read over here. I’ve also got a creative-critical essay forthcoming at The Offing, will post when it’s live.
Last year I had a great time reading with the lovely Max Porter and Jon McGregor at the opening of The Letters Page Vol. 3, which is chock full of fascinating letters. I am very happy that my letter is the last one in it. Well, to be fair, it kind of had to be…. look, I’m not going to spoil the surprise, you’re just going to have to buy your own copy and read it.
Stepping down news: Last month I handed over editorship of The Real Story to my friend Adam Farrer, a fantastic writer, editor and lover of the essay. As Adam was one of the first writers ‘developed’ by the fledgling organisation (it didn’t hurt, I promise), it seems fitting that he’s now taking it over. I’ll miss running TRS, which I have been doing since 2011 (!!), but as my own writing is leading me away from creative nonfiction, and my teaching responsibilities have grown, it’s time to take a back seat. I can’t wait to see what Adam and his newly-enlisted collaborator, writer and editor Ebba Brooks, have in store. First up is Transition, a new TRS event at the Not Quite Light Festival in March featuring Jenn Ashworth reading from her brand new essay collection; book yer tickets.
Other than that, I’m just here writing, and not writing, and emerging every now and then to torment Rob on The End of All Things Podcast, our quasi-literary semi-regular gabfest. Here are some things I have liked reading lately: Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick. Jean Stafford’s short stories; and this interview with filmmaker Agnes Varda. Until next time.