I am a practicing novelist and creative writing tutor.
I am a part-time lecturer at City University where I teach on the one-year Novel Studio. My teaching portfolio includes technical aspects of writing such as plot, narrative structure, synopsis and character development, as well as structural editing of manuscripts in progress. During my time teaching on the Novel Studio I have supported students to gain literary agents and achieve publication.
I am a frequent writer in residence at the Circle of Misse writers’ centre in France, where I run bespoke courses and one to one mentoring for writers working on short fiction, novels and memoir.
My first novel Dona Nicanora’s Hat Shop was published by Random House in 2010. I am currently working on my second novel. In 2015, I was short-listed for the Fish short memoir competition.
My academic background is in anthropology and social sciences. I was a lecturer in anthropology from 1994-1998 at University of Wales, Swansea. I have published social research in peer-reviewed academic journals. I have supervised students’ essays and dissertations to master’s level. I am able to provide tutoring support to essay and dissertation structuring / writing.
Professional / Business Writing
Alongside my creative and academic writing I have strong proposal writing skills and have been a lead bid/proposal writer for a consultancy specializing in social research and health. I am able to provide support in structuring and writing of research and funding proposal documents.
Subjects I teach
2007 Post-Graduate Certificate in Novel Writing
City University, London
2002 PhD Anthropology and International Development
Centre for Development Studies
University of Wales, Swansea
1984 MA Hons Social Anthropology – First Class
University of Edinburgh
My Passion And How I Inspire
I approach each of my students as individuals, working in partnership with them to identify their goals for their particular writing project, and building their skills to enable them to achieve these goals.
As a writer, I understand that receiving feedback on our work can be both empowering and terrifying. My approach is to always provide feedback in a way that is constructive and enables the student to develop their confidence to progress. This means working with the student to identify what is working well and areas that can be strengthened to improve the flow, fluency and impact of their written word.
I will review written texts and provide feedback through a structural overview of a piece of writing, along with detailed line-by-line written comments on the text. My preference is to talk through my comments in a one to one session so that students are able to process the feedback and engage in dialogue around it. I am also a strong believer in writing exercises to support the development of the craft of writing and will usually set an exercise at the end of each class to enable the student to practice and develop a particular technical aspect of the writing that we have been focusing on.
My preference is to meet students in a comfortable, quiet but public space, where they are able to relax. I often use the British Library, Royal Festival Hall or British Museum.
I lived in the Amazon rainforest for 6 months – which will provide subject matter for my next novel.