The Self-Conscious Writer (Review of The Blind Assassin)

Ah, I love the holidays. I’ve been putting off reading The Blind Assassin for ages, simply because I despaired at how long it would take me to read, never mind the extra weight it would add to my bag. A combination of relaxing holiday time, a six-hour train journey to France and a bad back […]

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Make Me Believe

At this time of year, I’m inclined to throw off my cynicism. There aren’t many times you can walk through a crowded train station and have a huge group of stressed passengers, simply smiling at each other as they listen to a band or a choir singing some carols. Giant flashing reindeer may not be […]

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100 Books of Me Part II

This second set of books started about a year ago. Now into my course, the shift is obvious. Almost exclusively first novels, my notes are geared towards what I can get out of it from a writing perspective, rather than as a reader. Which is the great thing about books. Maybe your interest is psychology, […]

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100 Books of Me

Just over two years ago I submitted my application to City University to study for an MA in Creative Writing. It was a last-minute decision, so I only just made the application deadline. On the train home from work a week or so later, I downloaded the email that invited me for interview. I wanted […]

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Are You Sitting Uncomfortably?

This week, I experienced a familiar feeling. Awkward, a little sweaty, over-exposed and defensive. This wasn’t a first date, or a public presentation, but a lesson on the novel Noughts and Crosses. In the incredibly diverse secondary schools I’ve worked in all over London, it always feels a little disappointing to answer, ‘here,’ to the inevitable […]

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Exposure

One of the key pleasures of reading (and, as it turns out, the one that makes you a better person) is the way you can be completely dissolved in the experience of a person which you will never know yourself. As a white woman living in London, there’s absolutely no way I can truly understand […]

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Wasting Time

Sometimes it feels like the more time I have, the less I get done. I’ve had an erratic work schedule for almost two years now, doing everything from paternity leave in a school which took up five days a week, to doing nothing but evening and weekend tutoring to make ends meet while I write […]

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How to be Both

What are the conditions needed to be truly moved by something? I like to think it’s intensely personal, like falling in love. The intricate web of circumstance, location, what you had for dinner that day, your mood, how difficult it was to get where you were going. All of these elements can combine to produce […]

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The View from the Other Side

I’m trying to write a book with a dual narrative. It seemed like a good idea at the time. When I found myself wading in a sea of post-its, spending three hours on a Thursday afternoon shuffling them around to try and figure out how to intersperse the two stories I’d written independently of each other, […]

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Office Politics

I’ve never worked in an office. I remember a teacher I used to work with swapping for a more ’normal’ job. She spoke of the euphoria she felt when she could go to the toilet, literally, whenever she wanted. Non-teachers don’t understand the true meaning of bladder control, that feeling when you look at your […]

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