I’m a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and have published stories, essays and journalism in a wide range of magazines, journals and newspapers (see below). I’m particularly fascinated with how we write about our engagements and relations with the nonhuman world.
My debut non-fiction work, The Pig in Thin Air, was published with Lantern Books in March 2016. The book explores the place of the body in animal advocacy, and chronicles my 2014 Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship which led me on a two-month journey around Canada and the United States (I’m the one in the middle, in between two amazing animal activists I met). 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 novel The Chernobyl Privileges will be published by Roundfire Books (an imprint of John Hunt Publishing) in 2018. It tells the story of Anthony Fahey, a radiation monitor at HM Naval Base Clyde, where the UK’s Trident nuclear missiles are kept, but who is also a survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, brought over to the UK on the Irish Catholic Church’s missions of mercy in the early 1990s. The book is based upon real events.
I’m working on a number of other projects (as always!), most importantly a new commission from The Newbridge Project here in Newcastle: Shift and Signal. This commission is to produce a series of eight aural narratives that are also walks around Newcastle and Gateshead and downloadable as podcasts, exploring “deeper adaptations” to contemporary social, economic and environmental crises, focusing on what can be done in our local regions.
Previous commissions include those for Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts for a radio play exploring the story of the Aden Emergency. Most recently I worked 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.
Short Fiction and Non-Fiction
My writing has been published in various places, for example:
- Missing Fathers: Reading Hisham Matar in Glasgow (The Millions)
- Greater and Lesser Birds, Greater and Lesser Deaths (Zoomorphic.net)
- What I Learned on My Debut Book Tour (The Millions)
- How Sweet is my Calling (Zoomorphic.net)
- Do You Speak Seagull? (Hastings Online Times)
- Dear Anton — Agriculture and Extinction (Lost Species Blog)
- When making mischief for pigs, where is the real crime? (Dodo.com)
- Why does the meat industry escape climate scrutiny? (Reporting Climate Change)
- Forks over Political Knives (Vegan Lifestyle Assocation)
And then also at…
online magazines: SWAMP writing, 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 including on Medium about the work of the animal liberation platform Direct Action Everywhere.
print publications: Like the Wind running magazine (2014 and 2015), 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, The Hostpure, Breach, Cherrybite, and others. In Feb 2014 I guest edited an issue of Earthlines magazine on the subject of Men and Nature, and wrote this piece on the artist Chris Jordan.
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, Enchiridion as well as contributing reviews and occasional pieces to The Guardian running blog (most recently here and here), the AV Festival on Hamish Fulton, 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.
ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS AND CONFERENCES