Literary Sisters

This week sees the publication of another exciting debut by an author with whom I’ve worked closely as mentor and structural editor.  It was a pleasure to work with Deirdre Quiery on Eden Burning.  Set in 1970s Belfast, it traces the story of two families riven by conflict and yet, in the end, brought to a redemptive resolution.

photo_cover_19_3_2015This might make it sound more like Romeo and Juliet than it actually is, though love is a vital element of the book’s message.  It’s a hugely evocative read: pacy, atmospheric and with characters that appeal with their strident voices and strong sense of purpose.  In fact, the writing is underpinned by a strong sense of spirituality, something that is a key component of Deirdre’s creative practice.

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Occasionally, as an editor, you come across a novel that really shines.  Joanna Campbell’s debut, Tying Down the Lion (published on 15 June by Brick Lane Publishing) is one such novel.  It came to me through Cornerstones (the consultancy for whom I freelance) and, from the very first page, the characters reeled me in.  I found myself caught up in the exploits of a family on a quest (and a road trip) to Berlin.  The book is a wonderful evocation of 1970s suburban British life, an exploration of cross-cultural politics and an exploration of the joys and complexities of family life.  DSC04248 [click to continue…]


Literary Sisters: interview with Antonia Honeywell

February 17, 2015

I’ve interviewed several writers on this blog over the years, but today’s interview is particularly significant for me.  Antonia Honeywell and I met on the MA in Novel Writing course in Manchester over ten years ago.  We’ve remained friends and writing partners ever since.  We’ve kept each other going by being mutual cheerleaders, critique partners […]

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‘Showing people the truth’: S J Bradley on her novel Brick Mother

July 25, 2014

I interviewed SJ Bradley last year, just as it had been announced that she’d been shortlisted for the Willesden Herald International Short Story prize. Juggling writing with a day job, as well as being one of the indefatigable organisers of Leeds lit social ‘Fictions of Every Kind’, she always struck me as incredibly disciplined about her […]

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Cultivating a garden together

March 22, 2014

This month I co-wrote a post for Something Rhymed with my friend and writing buddy, Antonia Honeywell.  Dedicated to literary friendships, ‘Something Rhymed’ is the brainchild of Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney, who are themselves friends and writing collaborators.  Mine and Antonia’s post is in part a testament to our shared experience of writing, […]

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Literary Sisters: Alice Munro

June 23, 2013

This week, Alice Munro announced that, at 81, it’s probably time she retired from writing.  It’s a good opportunity to celebrate the work of this extraordinary and prolific writer, whose work – though focusing on small towns and seemingly small lives – tackles complex and weighty issues. Tweet

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Literary Sisters: Author Interview with Zodwa Nyoni

April 1, 2013

Literary Sisters has – so far – been fairly fiction-centric in its focus.  So it’s high time to feature a poet on the blog.  It’s my great pleasure to include an interview with the very talented Zodwa Nyoni, a Zimbabwean-born performance poet and playwright. Tweet

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Literary Sisters: Angela Carter

March 20, 2013

Angela Carter  1940-1992   Biography and background ‘Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself,’ Angela Carter once said.  ‘You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world.  You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.’ Tweet

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Literary Sisters: Author Interview with S J Bradley

March 8, 2013

Photo credit: Ricky Adam On International Women’s Day it seems appropriate to be posting an interview with an up-and-coming woman writer.  Ages ago, before Sisterwives was published, I had an email inviting me to an event in Leeds called ‘Fictions of Every Kind.’  S J Bradley (Sarah) was one of the convenors: warm, friendly, impressively […]

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Literary Sisters: Author Interview with Jenn Ashworth

January 24, 2013

Jenn Ashworth is one of the most exciting young novelists writing in Britain today.  That’s not just my view, either.  in 2011 she was featured on the BBC’s Culture Show as one of the UK’s 12 best new novelists.  Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy won a 2010 Betty Trask Award. Her second, Cold Light, published […]

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