I’ve appeared as a speaker at most of the main literature festivals including recently Hay on Wye, Cheltenham, Ikley, Warwick, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, London, Latitude, Hong Kong, Mumbai and, of course, the brilliant Birmingham Book Festival.I have also been writer-in -residence at many universities and arts organisations both in the UK and abroad.
During the pandemic I have taught a course I devised called Write a Radio Drama in Five Weeks, on Zoom for several Literature Festivals. In August 2021 I will teach a five-day online Creative Writing Retreat for Birmingham Literature Festival. In 2022 I taught a sell-out online course ‘Write a Podcast Drama in Five Weeks’
Residencies and Fellowships
In 2017 I was awarded a Creative Fellowship at the University of Birmingham. During my time I researched and wrote a screenplay about JRR Tolkien’s early life and experiences in Birmingham. This was a development of a programme I had presented for BBC Radio 4 called Tolkien in Love. I wrote an essay about my research during this fellowship for the Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language.
In 2018 I was Radio Writer-in-Residence at Birmingham City University where I developed a new audio writing initiative, The Birmingham Radio Workshop, with the School of English and the School of Media.
I was Writer-in-Residence for the brilliant EXEtreme Imagination Festival in Exeter where I created a range of dramatic performances with local schools.
In July and August 2012 I was Writer-in-Residence at Cove Park. This inspiring artists’ centre is situated in 50 acres of unspoilt hillside overlooking Loch Long on Scotland’s West Cost. I lived in a converted shipping container, shown opposite, known as a Cube. It was a memorable time, despite the atrocious weather.
In 2004 I was awarded an Arts Council of England International Fellowship to become Writer-in-Residence for three months in the Leighton Studios at the Banff Centre in the Rocky Mountains in Canada. My studio was the converted fishing boat, shown opposite, suspended from rafters in the pine woods.
In January 2007 I traveled to India to be the British Council’s Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mumbai. My students, despite having no experience of creative writing, produced incredible work. Many stay in touch and I’m expecting great things from them.
In February 2009 I was Writer-in-Residence at Shandy Hall in Coxwold, former home of one of my favourite writers, the legendary Laurence Sterne. While on residency here I devised an experimental writing project for a group of KS3 ‘reluctant reader’ boys. They did indeed prove to be very reluctant, but we all did our best – in three foot of snow. Between 2009 and 2010 I worked for First Story as Writer-in-Residence at Cheney School in Oxford. The students, aged between fifteen and eighteen, were wonderful young writers, several of whom are already making waves in the literary world.
Recent festival appearances include:
In March 2018, I appeared at the Festival British Screen des Ecrans Britanniques in Nimes, France.
Speaking in 2017 at Hay Festival with illustrator Carol Adlam, about our new graphic novel, Ministry of Women.
At the Leeds Raw Festival.
‘I’m just writing to say thank you once again for coming to Kenilworth Library last Wednesday, and what a pleasure it was to have you there. All the audience had such an enjoyable and interesting time, and I have had 100% good feed back from them.’ – Kate Mackie, Senior Librarian Reader Development, Warwickshire Library & Information Service