I believe in the power of stories as force for social good, and alongside writing my own I am keen to help others tell theirs. I’ve worked with many community organisations to find, tell and share new stories.
All of the books you see below are the fruits of recent workshops I’ve held and writing groups I’ve worked with.
Between January and April 2019 I worked on a big Heritage Lottery Funded project with Nottingham Writers’ Studio to research five of Nottingham’s female literary heroes: Susannah Wright, Dorothy Whipple, Helen Cresswell, Mary Howitt and Panya Banjoko. The project partners were Nottingham Black Archive (NBA), Maggie’s Cancer Centre, RISE Learning Zone, Bromley House Library, World Jam and, Nottingham Writers’ Studio.
I led weekly writing groups with each of these partners to develop new writing in relation to these literary heroes.
Here we are are on a Walkshop to the village of Earring where Helen Cresswell lived.
Some super new stories, scripts, poems and plays were produced. Here are the poems written on bananas by the students at RISE Learning Zone.
The project culminated in the publication of a book (pictured above) of new writing inspired by the original female writers, and a celebration showcase event, featuring a performance by Panya Banjoko, at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham.
One recent highlight was working with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, members of the Kings Norton Writing Group, metal detectorists, students of English as a second language and members of the general public to create Story Hoard. It is an anthology of original poetry, stories, and personal reflection inspired by the Staffordshire Hoard and the world of the Anglo-Saxons. Ancient England was which was rich in poems, riddles and stories such as ‘Beowulf’ and we were inspired by these works in our workshops and writing. You can read Story Hoard in full here. And a blog I wrote about the process here.
Another recent joy was working with artist Carol Adlam to create these graphic novels .
The Ministry of Women (2016)
A graphic anthology of new stories to explore 100 years of women in the army. Commissioned by the National Army Museum.
Amy in Love ( 2016)
The true story of aviator Amy Johnson’s fateful love affair with an older man – a story that has long fascinated me and about which I wrote a popular drama for BBC Radio 4 (links on the Radio page). Commissioned by Hull’s Living Amy Festival, it can be read in full here.
The New Wipers Times (2014)
A graphic anthology made with army families at Nottingham’s Chetwynd Barracks in tribute to the original WW1 trench magazine, The Wipers Times. Commissioned by Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery .