I’m currently a writer living in Newcastle and senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Sunderland. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, exploring self-identity, psychoanalysis and affect.
I am working on three book projects: a first novel, a non-fiction memoir and an academic/memoir on animals and climate change. Along with three other writers, I am also working on a commission via Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts for a radio play exploring the story of the Aden Emergency. I am also working with the Natural History Society of Northumbria as their Writer in Residence, looking at, amongst other things, the cultural value of a writer to environmental and conservation organisations.
In 2014 I was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship for my project: ‘The role of the writer in marine conservation education and animal protection’ which led me on a two-month journey around Canada and the United States (btw, I’m the one in the middle, in between two amazing animal activists I met while running 43-miles straight between a stockyard and a slaughterhouse). During my trip I worked with some of the leading organisations and individuals within these fields, namely The Save Movement, Farm Sanctuary, The Whale Museum, 826, Vancouver’s The Writer’s Exchange, The Museum of Animals and Society, the photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur and her humaneeducation.ca project, film director Liz Marshall, and last but not least Greater Seattle’s Bureau of Fearless Ideas.
My hope is that the report from this fellowship will lead to collaborations with environmental and animal protection organisations in the UK to really change our perceptions of what a writer can be and do within the organisational field, for the animals. Like most writers, I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all.
Short Fiction and Non-Fiction
My writing has been published in various places, most recently in:
online magazines: the wonderful Take Tea with Turing anthology curated by Viccy Adams, Write Around the Toon, curated by Kris Johnson, Save Our Woods, Friction Magazine (which I founded in 2010), 52/250, the I-Vegan website, and others. My latest article (Jan 2015) is published on medium about the work of the animal liberation platform Direct Action Everywhere.
print publications: Like the Wind running magazine, Newcastle’s Material, Leaf Magazine (winning the Microfiction Competition for my story about blue whales, ‘Pod’), Buzz Magazine, The Derivateur, Novel Magazine, Living Woods, Succour, Breach, Cherry, and others. In Feb 2014 I guest edited an issue of Earthlines magazine on the subject of men and nature.
performances: I’ve performed at nights including Eat Our Words, Trashed Organ, Fiction Burn, and Brighton’s Swim (which I co-ran between 2005-2006 with the poet Abi Curtis) as well as having my work performed at and included in the 100 Faces, 100 Stories installation, curated by Alan Lyddiard.
essays and journalism: I contributed the critical essay to the artist Tim Brennan’s latest work, Encheridion as well as contributing reviews and occasional pieces to The Guardian running blog (most recently here and here), Counterfire, the New Left Project, Culture Machine, Changing Minds, Changing Lives and other sites and projects, including The Great Debate and a piece for The Guardian on the death of Lee Halpin. I support Newcastle’s brilliant Writer’s Cafe run by Marie Lightman and also run a small salon of friends with the writer Viccy Adams.