Busy times call for garibaldi biscuits. That’s what my guru Ludwig says, anyway.
When I was five and had just moved to a new infant school, I remember not being brave enough to put up my hand and ask to go to the loo. I remember the warmth and shame, and the stretchy nylon knickers—navy blue with red and white—they sent me home in. I kept them. When […]
A short story, written 2 years ago after a weekend in Pomorie, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea. _ Baba Radka’s hair, which should have been sown on the crown of her head as thick as spring wheat, migrated like the storks do, and unlike the storks it stayed forever on her chin. It was at that […]
Often, on Fridays, those lively folk at Faber Academy run a flash fiction competition. It’s really fun and if you win they send you book prizes. It also gets you writing. Today I hopped over to Twitter (I was supposed to be doing something else. Aren’t we all?) and alas there was no #QuickFic. Just […]
My grandma would be a hundred today if she weren’t dead. I’m named after her. Joan. Elliott, before she married. I wonder what she was like in her twenties, during the 1930s. She met my grandpa in London while they were both studying to be librarians, but she didn’t finish her studies. I wonder what […]
I was reading the end of a novel a few weeks ago. As a reward for finishing the first draft of my own book, I’d thrown myself into this new world and my heart was crashing and swelling all at once. The book’s called A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. My daughter went to go […]
There’s a meta-movement going on at the moment on the internet. My email inbox is a petri dish spawning daily, weekly and crescendoing entreaties to add my voice to the online conversation. To get writing, blogging, sharing my no doubt profound experience with the world. That I, too, will be able to find my niche […]
It’s late October, 2011. I’m sitting on the filthy floor of my father’s council flat. It’s a few days since his death, and I’ve rushed back from overseas. My older brother and I are tasked with the grim job of cleaning, removing, deciding, and neatly packaging up a life. It isn’t pretty or neat. But, […]