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I specialise in projects which explore and challenge the relationship between creative writing and place-making. You can find out more about my short fiction and novels on my personal writing site.
Project Name: More Than 100 Stories
Dates: February 2015- September 2016
Place: Across the UK
Partners: A collaboration with visual artist Nicole Mollett, commissioned by the Creative People and Places Network
It never stops, does it? Tick tock, slip and run. All you can do is chase, race, catch it and hold on tight. Except it never stops, does it? Tick tock, slip and run. It leaps and creeps, it marches on and on and all you can do is run to keep up; snatch what you can of it; make sure you’re in the nick of it; try not to let it shimmer through your fingers like so much water. It never stops, does it? Tick tock, slip and run.
I come for lunch and find you have cooked up a feast – enough for ten of me. I can taste your kindness in each dish – rosecoco beans, hot puri, peas. Continue reading
Night-time, in this unslept-in town. Skateboarders in the square, repeating themselves across the paving slabs. A handful of drinkers, hunched over quiet pints. A woman grinding her cigarette underfoot. Streetlights cast their yellow haze across empty streets. And in the car park, amongst the concrete pillars and fluorescent lights, the car-mods come, show off their latest trick, admire the tuning of another’s engine, the flash of silver alloys – all that time spent oil-slicked, forehead-scrunched, turned to pure gold.
Project Name: Stories From The Road
Dates: Spring-Summer 2015
Place: Oxford Road, Manchester
There are no lines telling you where it starts and where it ends. So let’s draw them in. Two trails of coloured chalk across the tarmac. Here: from park to shops. Here: from library to hotel.
Project Name: Walking The Edge
Dates: 22-26 June 2015
Place: Didsbury, Manchester
Partners: Didsbury Arts Festival
We know the road is coming – it beats the sound of running water – but it is still an assault, a right-angled twist up into concrete, railings, a different kind of sky. Continue reading
Not so much a graveyard, as a tunnel of space in between the green and the pub with a path of gravestones laid from one end to the other. The hard voices of afternoon drinkers nursing pints and fags bleed over the back wall. Birds chirrup and cheep and shit their berry-heavy lunches across the grass and the worn grey stones.
The scaffolding escaped – out the back, through the gaps between the burnt wood, onto this white beach with its strewn rocks and forgotten trees. It was done with the building site – concrete blocks, fluorescent clothes, each kick tipped with steel; dreamt instead of long lunches, meandering conversation, a table on a beach by a street in a city. Continue reading
Project Name: Digital Affective Histories
Dates: Summer 2014
Partners: The Centre For New Writing
Walking between the buildings was like entering a cave: the wind and the day’s noises dampened by stone and brick. Nothing but the hack of crows from the rooftops, the soft cooing of pigeons, the slap of wings as one took off, and the click click of Karen’s heels on the tarmac. Continue reading
[Scene: Withy Tree Day Centre, I sit next to Brenda at the table]
Brenda: ‘I’ve seen you before.’
Me: Yes, we’ve met, here.
Brenda: Weren’t you with that police man?
Brenda (holds her hand over my forehead): Yes it was you, with that policeman.
Care-worker: There was a woman, who came in with a police officer. You maybe look a bit like her.
Brenda: Is it hard to be in the police?
Me: I’m not in the police.
Brenda: I’ve seen you before.
Me: Well maybe I look like her, that woman. I was on the bus with you a few weeks ago.
Brenda: Yes, you were placing things around the edge, that’s right. I thought so.
In February- March I worked with people at Justlife, a Community Interest Company in Openshaw, Manchester who aim to raise the aspirations of vulnerable people by opening doorways to healthcare, treatment, housing and employment. Every Street Has A Story To Tell is a project run by Small Things celebrating local stories and creativity in East Manchester. I blogged about each session on the project website and some of the writing created was showcased at Beswick Library at a community celebration on 6th April 2013.