‘Courting’ (Finalist in Brighton Prize, November 2018)
The annual Brighton Prize is open to international entries and exists to find inventive new writing. With its roots in Rattle Tales, a performance group, there is an emphasis on stories that work as well on the stage as the page. I was thrilled to be runner-up for Flash Fiction from nine hundred entrants to the 2018 competition. The piece will be published in a 2019 anthology called Rattle Tales.
He says something about first kissing his wife, two decades ago, the gulf of it – the distance between two people who haven’t touched yet but will – so she (not his wife, but the woman with him) wonders if this is it finally. She is to be tested, and found wanting.
‘A Lost Sheep’ (Oh Comely Magazine, June 2017)
For the Touch issue, a fairytale of desire and disgust set in the deep Devon countryside.
A ewe, loose and ragged in her fleece, wrapped in brambles like a prisoner in barbed-wire. Shock hit like smelling salts…and I shivered at the death she’d suffered: The thorns winding tighter, biting deeper. A long time it took too: The grass all around her head was eaten bare and maggots moved in her raw places.
Her eye opened.
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A short story on the power of beautiful routine for The Simple Things magazine.
Every evening, my grandfather walked his fields with a knife and ball of baler twine. Always a new hole worked by a fox coming in or a sheep going out, and by trussing it up with strong orange cord he kept everything in better order than if he’d waited for money and time to replace his fences. What I loved in my ferocious grandfather – that tender mender of fences with improvised knots – was formed from loss.
“This lovely story spoke so well of my own family…I was brought up in a household that always repaired things…This is a keep forever story.” Simple Things reader.
“Comforting deep wisdom from this inspiring woman.”
“‘To fall in love with what happens, afterwards.’ This is a great piece of writing.”
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The Weather House, and my accompanying illustration, appeared in the June 2016 Childhood issue of Unpsychology Magazine.
Unpsychology Magazine is a journal dedicated to subjects close to my heart: Wild mind, neurodiversity, stewardship and soul-making. I am honoured to be appearing in the same issue as an author whose work is as vast in scope as mine is close: Jay Griffiths, whose last chapter from the masterful Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape is being reprinted in full. I return to this book often as my own children grow and recommend it whole-heartedly to all parents and teachers.
They are alone again, mother and child. Minn has come outside with tearless eyes and lips set firm. Beside her at the unworked edge of their vegetable garden she has piled her small stock of treasures. Badger brush, Cufflink, the shaving soap, some fishing flies…She draws a line with her stick then up ends it so to dig. This and more she has learned from her grownups. Holes are made and spaced apart as seeds are…She smiles at the idea they might grow and make more of themselves, but knows they will not.