Summer 2021

I’m happy to share the news that my current writing and photography project has won support from Manchester Independents, an artist-led funding scheme designed to showcase and support the work of independent artists and creative practitioners in Greater Manchester.

My project, Raw Milk, addresses the structural inequalities in Britain exposed by the pandemic, using my family’s experiences during this last lockdown winter as a case study. I’m really engrossed in it so I’m going to keep this update brief. At the MI site you can learn about the other artists featured and what they’re working on – lots of good stuff is definitely in the pipeline.

I have new writing and photography in The Art of Being Dangerous: Exploring Women and Danger Through Creative Expression, which has just been published by Leuven University Press (currently on offer at Blackwells). What a pleasure to appear in this lively and varied book full of revolutionary art and writing from women all over the world! The book emerged from the Dangerous Women Project at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, and it’s a delight to see how that project has been the focus for such an invigorating exchange of art and ideas over the last few years. I’ll be reading at the online book launch at 5pm UK time on Monday 12 July, will post a link here when it’s ready.

me and Anna Polonyi; image shamelessly thieved from Sarah-Jane Roberts via Twitter

I recently hosted conversations with two writers doing virtual residencies in Manchester libraries – Alicia Sometimes (at) the Portico, and Anna Polonyi (at) Central Library – these were shared on Instagram Live and you can find them archived on Manchester City of Literature’s instagram feed if you’d like to watch. I really enjoyed hearing about their work and unpicking the enigma of what a virtual residency is, at a time when it feels like many of us have been doing a virtual residency in our own lives. Until next time.

Summer/Autumn 2020

I have a new piece, ‘Horse’, in Structo issue 20. And as part of that I’ve been interviewed for Structo‘s ‘Meet the Writer’ series:

Two poems of mine appear in the latest volume of poetry journal Touch the Donkey, which is available here from above/ground press. I talked about them and my writing with editor, poet and Canadian indy publishing supremo rob mcclennan over here: TtD Supplement #172: seven questions for Kate Feld

I had a conversation with musician Tori Amos for Manchester Literature Festival’s digital-only weekend in October. What a heavenly gig that was. We talked about her book, Resistance (Hodder & Stoughton) and got deep into a discussion of creative process and the role of the artist in society, about how we’re all processing the earthshaking events of this year and continue to find and lose ourselves in (and out of) art:

I was happy to be asked to judge the 2020 Quiet Man Dave Prize in short fiction and nonfiction. Dave Murray, the quiet man in question, was one of the sweetest-tempered people I’ve encountered in Manchester’s writing world and it was a real shock when he died last year. Now his seemingly boundless enthusiasm for new writing and art lives on in the form of this prize, which has just been awarded to two wonderful writers and given a platform to the work of many more all over the world. You can watch many of the finalists reading their entries in this video, where I also talk about the judging process and read a couple of the shortlisted pieces:

Lately I’ve been reading and marvelling at Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s experimental novel A Ghost in the Throat (Tramp Press) and poet Amy Woolard’s debut collection Neck of the Woods (Alice James Books). Also, I managed to see a movie in the actual cinema before we all locked down again here in the North of England – Norweigan documentary The Painter and The Thief. Astoundingly good.

Winter/Spring 2020

Well, here we all are. Since my last update all outward facing, interacting-directly-with-people writing business has been cancelled as we are all in quarantine. Every event, performance and workshop in my diary has been cancelled. Things are deeply weird, and sometimes scary, and sometimes surprisingly okay. 

But thankfully, not every single thing has been cancelled. Spring is not cancelled, for instance. Also, I am a judge for Manchester Writing School’s inaugural QuietManDave writing prize, which remains open for entries until April 17. As we’re looking for fiction and nonfiction entries of 500 words or less, it’s a good opportunity for new writers or people returning to writing after a long break to experiment. Why not enter?

Also not entirely cancelled: publishing. I have a new piece in issue 20 of Structo, which will be out soon. This story, which I have been tweaking for a couple of years, has ended up being one of my faves so I am really happy it’s going to be in print… though it’s a funny feeling to think of it as being done.  I have some new poems coming out in the Canadian journal Touch the Donkey, too.

I want to pass on word of an interesting creative initiative: Joanna Walsh has started a new project, Zines in Dark Times, that invites writers and artists to make their own zines at home and mail them to her for a future exhibition. Personally, I’ve got a printer with a built-in scanner over here and I’m not afraid to use it. And don’t forget that we’re open for submissions over at The Real Story, so if you’ve got an essay or nonfiction piece burning a hole in your pocket send it over. Pandemic-themed writing is welcome as is the old non-pandemicky kind.

I also want to say that I’ve seen a couple of fire and brimstone posts on social media to the tune of ‘writers and artists this is what you’ve been training for! Go forth and make brilliant genius work that catalyses our spirits and captures this historical moment NOW!’ While some artists may be charging into action and creating like gangbusters in quarantine, I have a feeling that most of us have been slower off the mark. I have focused more on comfort and adjustment than being productive with my writing, and mostly what I have been doing is: making sure my kids are okay, reading escapist novels, cooking nice things and eating them. It will come.

In the meantime… reading is good, if you are able to focus on it.  So, you want a book to order from an independent bookstore or maybe borrow from the library as an e-book? (yes this is a thing! Check it out). Sure. I have loved Doxology by Nell Zink, the complete works of Willy Vlautin and The Book of Delights by Ross Gay – all have NOTHING to do with global pandemics, and I think the last one might be especially good for the soul right now. 

Autumn 2019


NorthernlightsFirst, as it’s Autumn when all of them seem to happen, I have lots of literary events to tell you about, starting this Saturday Sept 21 when I’ll be hosting the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference at Waterside Arts Centre in Sale. This year’s keynote speaker is Jane Rogers (Mr Wroe’s Virgins) and there are talks, one-to-one sessions, workshops all day. Info and tickets here.

Next Weds, Sept. 25th I’ll be reading at Bad Language, and then on Saturday 5 October I’ll be at Flash in the Van, where myself and five other writers will be reading very short stories in a very short caravan as part of Burnley Literature Festival.

On Sunday 13 October I’ll be hosting two events as part of Manchester Literature Festival. First, at 2pm at Central Library, I’ll be in conversation with Deborah Levy, talking about her Booker-shortlisted new novel The Man Who Saw Everything and her writing life. And then at 4:30 I’ll be joining Irish essayists Sinead Gleeson (Constellations) and Emilie Pine (Notes to Self) for a wide-ranging conversation about their books, essay forms and the perils and pleasures of writing from one’s own life at the Burgess Foundation.

I’m also hosting a book launch on November 7th at Blackwells Manchester with Linda Mannheim, whose second collection of short fiction, This Way to Departures, is coming out with Influx Press. I’m reading an advance copy right now and it is a corker.

Update: On Saturday 23 November I’ll be running a writing nonfiction and short memoir workshop at LIT Macclesfield. Info and booking here. 

Since my last update I’ve published ‘Yet Also’, a hybrid essay about werewolves, suffragists and gender at The Offing, which maintains a hybrid and transgenre section called The Enumerate that I have really enjoyed rummaging around in.

I’ve also been interviewed about my writing over at Train Poetry Journal, which published some of my poetry recently. You can read the interview here.

I’ve been reading this short story by George Saunders, which made me leap out of my chair and swear at the end. I’ve been reading a wonderful book of stories and essays, Outlander, by Jane Rule. And I’ve been reading Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, which is one of those shining books I can’t wait to get home to. Last night I read this:

‘Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working.’

This resonates for me because I am way out in the hinterland of a long writing project. Going off for a bit to write a short thing, then emerging pretty quickly to perform it or see it published is what I have done for years, and it has its own ego-boosting motivations built in: applause, acceptance, attention, etc. etc.  Writing a longer thing is very different. No one knows or cares what you are doing. It is a lonely and often tedious business and you start to wonder why the hell did I think this was a good idea anyway? I’m gonna go back to writing short things, this isn’t for me. But somehow, you keep going, in fits and starts and long grumps and occasional sudden clicks of things falling into place.  Or at least that’s the idea. Anyway, I’m still here, enduring. I just wanted to say hi.

Spring 2019

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.



Spring/Summer 2018

IMG_20180607_181045907_HDROver 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.


Autumn/Winter 2017-18

collage kate and jennI’m writing this the week after a very enjoyable trip up to Lancaster University, where I was a visiting writer and discussed the ethics of writing and creative nonfiction with MA students followed by a reading of my essays hosted by the excellent Jenn Ashworth (who I’ve hosted before myself, so I felt right at home.) Many thanks to Jenn and Zoe Lambert for making me feel so welcome. I also had a great day last week at Writing on the Wall‘s Writers Marketplace in Liverpool, where I spoke on a panel about how to make a living from writing.

As of this month, I’ve given up my long-term freelance role at Manchester Literature Festival, where I’ve worked on and off since 2006. I’m sad about this, but as I’ve taken on more university teaching it’s just not possible for me to continue. My time at MLF has been incredible: bringing  many wonderful writers, publishers and human beings into my life, teaching me so much about writing, and supplying countless moments of pure joy at readings and events. I’ll continue to be the Festival’s biggest supporter, and look forward to working with them again in the future.

And the future in Manchester for writing and literature suddenly looks significantly brighter — we are now living in the UK’s newest UNESCO City of Literature. It was thrilling to be part of the team that put together the successful bid, which will help us ensure that the city’s broad and diverse literary activity is celebrated and supported into the future. It’s early days yet, but we all look forward to seeing how plans develop.

Writing-wise, I’ve got a new poem in the latest edition of Irish journal The Stinging Fly, and more new work forthcoming in The Letters Page and Hotel. One of my old short stories, ‘Feral,’ originally published in Neon a couple of years ago, returned in a new form when it was featured in the new audiocast The Hillside Curation; my story begins at 29 minutes and is read by writer/host David Hartley; listen here).

I’ve joined my friend Rob Cutforth’s monthly-ish North West literary podcast, The End of All Things, as a regular co-host. This has been so much fun, especially for me, because Rob is the one who actually does all of the work, and I just turn up and talk. If you’d like to listen, head here.

I’m  performing my carol-singing pub nativity story for the third year running at The Castle Hotel on December 20th at Get Lit! It’s Christmas, a festive cabaret organised jointly by The Real Story, First Draft and Bad Language. Come along if you’re in the area, it’s sure to be a sparkly and silly and Christmassy affair.

And then? After a difficult and far too busy year I’m looking forward to a quieter winter full of writing, reading and, crucially, doing more things that have nothing to do with writing and reading.  See you in 2018.




Spring/Summer 2017

Big news: I’m joining the faculty at the University of Salford as a Lecturer in Digital Journalism. I’ve been teaching there as an associate lecturer for a few years and absolutely love it. It’s an incredible time to be teaching journalism; the media landscape is changing by the minute, and never has good journalism felt more essential to the functioning of our society. I’m thrilled about this post.

After a quiet late winter that was happily full of writing, spring found me interviewing all the writers, publishers, teachers and literature folk I could scare up in the service of Manchester’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.  From March through June I was based at MMU’s Manchester Writing School as a research assistant leading on the consultation that supported the bid, important and rewarding work I greatly enjoyed. Next week we publish the consultation report, written by me and colleague Martin Kratz, which explores the health of Manchester’s literature and writing ecosystem and envisions what the designation could mean for the city (I’ll post the link when it’s live. ) I think the city has a very strong application; we learn if it’s been successful on 31st October.

I had a great time performing at what turned out to be the last-ever edition of lovely Manchester live lit night First Draft; it will be sorely missed. I also loved reading new work at the  launch of my friend Tania Hershman’s  poetry collection Terms and Conditions at Waterstones, along with poet Jo Bell (picture above). I’ve published a new short story in the current edition of The Lonely Crowd, guest edited by Valerie Sirr: pick up a copy of  issue seven here, it’s full of great writing. You can read an essay I wrote about my story, Werner Herzog and writing the unseen online at The Lonely Crowd here.

Then it was right into the build-up to Manchester Literature Festival, which is fast approaching. This year it’s my privilege to be interviewing one of my very favourite authors, the Danish experimental fiction writer Dorthe Nors. I’ll also be in conversation with short fiction master Tessa Hadley over afternoon tea at the Midland, and talking with Joanna Moorhead about her new biography of Surrealist visionary Leonora Carrington, whose art and writing means a lot to me. I’ll also be compering at Hollie McNish & Jackie Hagan and our Real Story/Dead Ink event featuring essayists from timely new anthology Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class by the Working Class. And of course I’ll be Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking, Blogging, E-newslettering and otherwise enjoying MLF throughout October. I can’t wait.

I’m pleased to be involved in Women’s Words Manchester: a wonderful project collecting stories from the women of the city to create an archive and print publication marking the first century of female suffrage. As part of this, I’m leading a free life writing workshop on Saturday November 4th, 2pm at Chorlton Library, and there are lots of other great workshops and events on offer. Also in November I’ll be returning to guest lecture at Edge Hill University, talking with writing students about creative nonfiction, and will be at Lancaster University the following month as a Visiting Writer. I’ll be giving a public reading there on the evening of Tuesday 5th December; more info closer to the time.

My creative nonfiction and essay writing development project The Real Story‘s firing on all cylinders right now: following a successful event and sold-out workshop with Flâneuse author Lauren Elkin, we’re bringing author and essayist Joanna Kavenna to Manchester on Tuesday 19 September. She’ll be leading a workshop on Writing the Self from 5:30-7pm, and then headlining our Real Story: Live event after, supported by essayists Lenni Sanders, John Klark and Richard V. Hirst. We’ve published some fantastic new pieces on the site recently, and we’ve enlisted Susie Stubbs, author and founding editor of Creative Tourist, as a contributing editor. We have big plans for the new year involving new partnerships and new cross-artform collaborations; stay tuned.

I’ve read some stunning books over the summer, chiefly Layli Long Soldier’s remarkable Whereas; Rebecca Solnit’s  new essay collection The Mother of All Questions, Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg and Fourth Person Singular by Nuar Alsadir. This seems to be an especially fertile time for writing that sits across traditional forms, challenging inherited notions of what constitutes poetry, nonfiction prose and fiction. It’s an exciting time to be writing, and reading.

Image: Sarah Jasmon via Instagram




Autumn/Winter 2016-17



It’s been a busy time for speaking and teaching. In August I led a workshop on blogging and telling stories with the hugely inspiring Young Women’s Trust. In September I began my third year lecturing on the International & Digital Journalism MA at the University of Salford. In October, the Manchester Literature Festival took over my life:  this year I hosted discussions with Olivia Laing (The Lonely City), Writing the North with Jenn Ashworth & Andrew Michael Hurley, and an evening with performance poets Hollie McNish and Salena Godden.

In November I was keynote speaker at the Digital Storymaking conference at Liverpool John Moores University (photo above), talking about Openstories project Rainy City Stories (2008-14), place writing  and the development of interactive story maps.  It’s lovely to see a renewal of interest in this project, which continues to be something to learn from and enjoy.

The same month, I spoke in a panel on ‘Reaching your Audience’ at the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair and visited the Edge Hill University creative writing course as a guest lecturer on the subject of writing creative nonfiction. I was also interviewed on a couple of podcasts, returning to The End of All Things to preview the 2016 Manchester Literature Festival and popping up on the deeply silly Hey Fat Roland.

I’ve also been doing lots of writing and performing. My essay ‘Dear Shadow’ was highly commended in the Words & Women Prose Competition and will appear this spring in an anthology published by Unthank Books. My short nonfiction piece ‘Lemons’, was published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of Irish literary magazine Banshee, and my lyric essay ‘Casting’ was published on Entropy in December. I’m working away on a thematically-linked collection of short lyric prose pieces; a couple more of these have been accepted for publication and will appear soon.

In September I  was commissioned to write and perform new beat-inspired work by Manchester literary organisation Bad Language for an event celebrating the launch of Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground at the John Rylands Library. Then, in October I was invited by First Draft to write and perform a new short story as part of Darkness Knocks, a special Halloween event at Chethams Library. In November, I performed at a flash fiction stage curated by literary night Verbose at the Transitions Festival in Bury, and in December read a pub nativity story (with carols performed by the audience) at the Kulning: Winter Songs event at The Castle Hotel.

Most of my time at the moment is devoted to redeveloping Openstories’ creative nonfiction project The Real Story, which has seen a marked rise in the number of submissions, is shortly to get a new website, and has a very busy series of events planned for 2017.

Reading:  I’m hosting an event with the great Eileen Myles this month, so I’ve just read her experimental memoir Chelsea Girls and  her new collected poems, I Must be Living Twice. I’ve also hugely enjoyed Edmund White’s new biography of Angela Carter, Eimear McBride’s incandescent second novel The Lesser Bohemians and the short story collections A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin and Karate Chop/Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors.


Image Susi Arnott (via Twitter)

Spring/Summer 2016

kate and jess

The big news: I’m happy to say we’ve received a significant 2-year grant from Arts Council England to vastly expand The Real Story, the creative nonfiction project I run via writing organisation Openstories. We’ll be creating  a new web portal full of CNF resources for writers and teachers, expanding our successful The Real Story: Live events and editing and publishing lots more original essays on our new site. We can’t wait to get going on this! Watch this space.

Other updates: I was pleased to have a lyric essay published on minor literature[s]: The problem with blackberries. I also have a prose poem forthcoming in the next issue of Irish literary magazine Banshee. I am currently writing a fragmentary work about womanhood, the unconscious and memory.

I was hired to edit a piece by novelist Jenn Ashworth for the fascinating Tall Tales, a national touring programme bringing together the work of 17 international women artists who employ the playful use of storytelling techniques in the making of their work. Jenn’s story, a hybrid work combining elements of fiction and nonfiction, was a commission responding to the work of artist Alison Erika Forde. It’s wonderful writing and was a pleasure to work on – I’ll post the link here when it’s live.

The 2016 Manchester Literature Festival programme is full of treats – and it’s keeping all of us at MLF very busy in the run-up to the full launch in August. This October I’m hosting events with authors Olivia Laing, Megan Bradbury, Jessie Burton, Andrew Michael Hurley, Jenn Ashworth, Salena Godden and Hollie McNish, as well as a special MLF edition of The Real Story with Horatio Clare. I’ve also started hosting author events at Waterstones in Manchester, and had a great time talking with The Miniaturist author Jessie Burton (photo above) and food writer Sabrina Ghayour recently.

This summer I’ve been doing some writing workshops with The Vegetarian Society; getting people excited about using words more creatively in their work is always very fun and rewarding. And I’ve been reading, reading, reading: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, the astonishing Speedboat by Renata Adler and the wonderful essay collection Findings by poet Kathleen Jamie.