Out of Place now available

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How would you describe Out of Place? As a rather intense psychological study of trying to live up to expectations — other people’s and one’s own — and the battering […]

Unmask your characters


Once you have the idea or theme and the framework for the setting of your story, the next step according to the writing manuals is to get to know your […]

The thing with holidays

Great Barrier Reef

‘The thing with holidays,’ I said to my cousin Neil this morning, ‘is that the benefits don’t last very long. Soon as you’re back at your desk, you’ve forgotten you […]

Writing in a vibrant marketplace


Merchandise and marketing – two sides of the same worked-over page. Somehow as writers we’ve forgotten we’re running a business. Somehow it’s always been enough to have sweated out the […]

The winds of change are stirring once again

Dandelion clock dispersing seed

Founded on raw courage or conviction or both, there are powerful things happening around the traps. Big steps, small steps — but steps they are, and all capable of producing […]

Spinning stories

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‘If only that carpet could talk, the tales it would tell!’ But the Chikupi carpet was not going to talk, not just then, and nor was Ethnée Holmes à Court […]

Why the author is not yet dead

eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops)

At writers’ festivals, both as a member of the audience and as participant, I’m always fascinated by the number of questions that attempt to tease out a writer’s connection to […]

The truth in fiction

Viv and Gamba

The truth in fiction, fact in fiction, historical novels and fictional histories: the line is very blurred. One of my latest short stories has a dog as the protagonist who […]

Can a book change your life?


Lunch with a journalist friend looking for work reminded me of my own first dedicated job search. I was in my mid-twenties with two young children. By then I had […]

Haiku in Hong Kong


Christmas 2013 and two delightful books of haiku revived my interest in this beautiful and meditational form of poetry. So few words, so much said. But if haiku surprised me […]