Old Water, New Waves: Thresholds

Reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ marked an important moment in my literary life. It cemented my interest in gender studies and inspired my first short story, ‘Ulterior Design’ which was published in Black Static # 21. The rest of Gilman’s oeuvre is often in the shadow of this one great work – though her novel Herland is enjoying a resurgence of interest perhaps as a counterbalance to recent political developments – and her short story, ‘Old Water’ is one such often-overlooked work. Arguably just as revolutionary as ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, ‘Old Water’, written nineteen years later, is more hopeful, celebrating the next generation of ‘new women’ firmly in control of their destinies.

To read my full article on ‘Old Water’, which was longlisted for the Thresholds 2017 International Feature Writing Competition click here. Thresholds is the international short story forum and this year’s entries celebrate a diverse array of short story masters such as Jorge Luis Borges, Katherine Mansfield, Yuri Buida, Cormac McCarthy and many more.

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Shadows & Tall Trees 7

After a three-year hiatus, Shadows and Tall Trees is back! Undertow Books has been busy in the interim, publishing four collections of short stories (from Eric Schaller, D.P. Watt, Sunny Moraine and myself) three volumes of Year’s Best Weird Fiction, guest edited each time, and accumulating numerous awards and nominations. But three years has been a long time for readers of the genre eager for the kind of fiction Shadows and Tall Trees has come to champion: quiet horror, weird fiction with a literary edge.

With stories from Malcolm Devlin, Brian Evenson, Rebecca Kuder, V.H. Leslie, Robert Levy, Laura Mauro, Manish Melwani, Alison Moore, Harmony Neal, Rosalie Parker, M. Rickert, Nicholas Royle, Robert Shearman, Christopher Slatsky, Simon Strantzas, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael Wehunt, Charles Wilkinson, Conrad Williams and cover artwork by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich (paperback edition) and Vince Haig (hardback edition) Shadows and Tall Trees 7 will mark the welcome return of this journal.

Award-winning writer Angela Slatter, has been kind enough to interview us all about our stories and the motivations behind them, starting Rosalie Parker, Michael Wehunt, Malcolm Devlin and Manish Melwani. And inimitable reviewer, Dew Lewis has already begun his Real-Time Review of the journal which can be read here.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy from Undertow Books.

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Peter Tennant’s Case Notes: A Sense of Unease

I have long been a fan of Peter Tennant’s Case Notes series in Black Static, which has undoubtedly set the standard for critical reviewing. So, you can imagine my excitement (and nervousness) at the prospect that my short story collection, Skein and Bone and my novel, Bodies of Water would feature in Case Notes, Black Static # 55. My first short story was published in Black Static and along with the fiction published within its pages, it was through Peter’s column that I first come across what extraordinary work is being produced in the genre. My thanks to Peter for such a thorough, erudite reading of my fiction and for taking the time to interview me about research and motivations.

      

Skein and Bone

‘It is a fine end to a superb collection of stories that, while they undoubtedly horror fiction in the main, stretch their wings and fly that bit higher, that bit closer to the sun like poor, doomed Icarus.’                                                                             Peter Tennant, Black Static # 55

Bodies of Water

‘This is a harrowing novel, one that punches far above its weight, and in combination with Skein and Bone is an assured debut mapping out the concerns and aesthetic sensibilities of a writer who may well go on to become one of the most significant new voices in our genre.’                                                                                              Peter Tennant, Black Static # 55

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History Today

I’m delighted that my article on Fallen Women appears in January’s issue of History Today magazine. Based on much of the research I carried out for Bodies of Water, my article looks specifically at the Foundling Hospital and the narratives that were expected of Victorian women who flouted the moral mores of the day.

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Portsmouth Darkfest

darkfest-2

Portsmouth Darkfest, a month-long creative celebration of the supernatural has just begun. Developed in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth and the Supernatural Cities Project and Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, the series of events, including readings, talks, exhibitions, book launches and ghost tours, focuses on the supernatural associations with the city, instances of urban folklore and the city’s capacity to generate dark narratives.  For the full program of events click here.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the following events:

 

Aurora Front Room – ‘Into the Night’ Performance Poetry

Thursday 3rd November, 7.30-10.30 pm, Aurora Coffee Shop, Albert Road, PO5 2SJ

I’ll be reading from my novel Bodies of Water, alongside Francesca Beard, international performance poet and a host of hugely talented local poets. Includes open mic session too – turn up early if you want to perform.

FREE event, donations

 

Dark Victorians

Wednesday 9th November, 5.30 – 7 pm, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Cambridge Road, PO1 2EF

I’ll be participating in a talk by academics and novelists about the dark side of the Victorian life.  Local author Diana Bretherick will launch her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughters. Click here for more information or to get tickets.

FREE

 

Femmes Fatales Writers Workshop

darkfest-gals

Thursday 24th November, 6.30 -8.30 pm, Eldon Building, University of Portsmouth

A Portsmouth Writers Hub workshop based on an authors’ roundtable discussion about the character of the ‘femme fatale’. Feel free to dress up for the occasion!

Tickets: £5 – Available on the door

 

Dark City Book Launch and Printmaking Exhibition

Wednesday 30th November, 7 – 9 pm, Hunter Gatherer Café, Albert Road, PO4 0JR

Join us for the launch of Dark City, an anthology of scary Portsmouth stories by local authors. Includes an art exhibition by the Omega Printmakers. A farewell to the 2016 festival.

FREE

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Day of the Dead IV

 

Evil man gesturing silence, quiet isolated on black background

It’s that time of year again, when the Portsmouth writing scene prepares to welcome All Hallows’ Eve with a night of chilling tales. I’ll be reading alongside local writers and performers at the historic Square Tower, Broad Street on Sunday 30th October. Doors open 6pm. Come along if you dare.

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Created in Portsmouth Art Trail

forest-day-v-lesliewolfI’m thrilled to be taking part this year in Created in Portsmouth, an arts and crafts trail from the 14th – 16th October, 10am to 5pm. My screen-prints, copper sulphate etchings and dry-point etchings are inspired by the forest, folklore and fairy tale and will be exhibited alongside the work of coppersmith, Jenny Ames and jewellery designer, Jane Gooding at venue no. 10. The open studios programme across a variety of locations in Portsmouth, showcases the diversity of the creative arts in the city from glass artists and textile designers to papercut illustrators, photographers and blacksmiths. A great opportunity to visit the studio spaces of local artists and to acquire limited edition artwork and unique, bespoke items. To find out more about Created in Portsmouth, please visit the site, or click here for the trail map and look out for the white balls and bunting outside our venues.

 

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