This winter I’ll be taking up a position as fiction editor with Bare Fiction magazine.
Bare Fiction, as well as being an great magazine genuinely dedicated to seeking out and promoting excellent new writing, also has a special place in my heart as it was the first print publication to ever accept my stuff in their early days (why not click here where you can buy the issue which features my story ‘Flood', or even here where you can take out a subscription?)
I am presently knee deep in submissions, which would be disagreeable were it not for the fact that some of the stories I've read have easily been among the most impressive things I’ve read this year, so please: send your short stories my way, assured they’ll be in the finest company.
That said, submissions are currently closed – although they will open again soon. And you do have before the end of the month to submit to the Bare Fiction Short Story Competition, judged by the redoubtably talented Luke Kennard.
Friends, I've been nationalised.
Yes, that’s right – I’ve been awarded a grant from the Arts Council to work on my next book! Many thanks to ACE's wonderful Developing your Creative Practice scheme.
I don’t really like to jinx works in progress by discussing them. What I will say that the very-much-provisional title for the project I’m very excited about starting work on is Victim Country and that I envision it being really quite relentlessly northern both in theme and setting.
We Were Strangers - Learned Pig
I had the sudden sensation that I was perhaps an alien myself, an otherworldly figure walking down an empty alley which was also the dead holy relic of another civilisation. The temperature had abruptly dropped and the sensation – fantasy and the material world seemingly in union – made me feel rather unwell, a touch panicky. I recalled with an impulse of genuine horror the simple phrase in which Engels, while roaming the streets of Manchester in search of class injustice, had summed up what he saw: ‘Hell upon Earth’. I stopped walking and removed my earphones for a moment.
I was asked by The Learned Pig to write a brief piece about my experiences of editing We Were Strangers. I said yes and then instead wrote a lengthy ramble through Manchester and its heritage, industrial and musical, taking in some of the figures who passed through the city and contemplating its compulsion to forge self-belief via self-mythologising.
Sorry, Learned Pig.
You can read the whole thing here.