To Build a Home

(published in White Wall Review, 11/05/19)

Merethe’s not back,” Colton says as he walks into the room.

It’s 10:10pm. At 10:15pm, the automatic lockdown system would start. At 10:17pm, Sarah Hamilton, our long-suffering houseparent, would unwedge a strategic wellie from between the doors and let the lockdown system finish. I throw a coat over my pyjamas, grab my flip flops, and head out into the snow.

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Write What You Don’t Know

[published in Kamena Magazine, 16/04/19]

Writers are creatures of comfort, rituals and rhythms that we are loathe to break. There’s a fair logic behind many of these: getting stuck with writers’ block is a nightmarish hell, akin to having all your sinuses block up simultaneously while also being creatively constipated. These little tricks are our last defence against the dark. Continue reading

The Day Before

[extract published in Kamena Magazine, 20/04/19]

My brother died on a Saturday. That morning we’d left him and my sister to mind the shop while Mutti took me on her errands. In the summer of 1939 she’d only just started working as a seamstress of sorts. Letting out waistbands, taking in waistbands, changing the neckline of a dress to make it look entirely new – odd jobs that were quick but required an experienced hand to get those neat, parallel stitches. It was all the fault of the church coffee ladies. Mutti had taken over the social club at the start of the year, and the minute those crow-eyed omas got their claws on her embroidered napkins, her fate was sealed.

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Creative Insight Interview

Amy Hodkin interviews Joel Russell and Zoe Wells about writing, filmmaking, radio, poetry, and more. The two offer their advice on how to launch and maintain major projects such as radio shows and magazines, and their experiences trying to develop their crafts within the confines of creative writing degrees.

You’re Not a Wizard, Harry: Demystifying Writing

[published by Kamena Magazine, 20/01/19]

The division between STEM and Art is often explained by something inherent, something natural, not nurtured. That some people have logical brains that can compute large amounts of data, and some people have artistic brains that output illogical, beautiful creations into the world. Some people are right-handed, some left; some people are scientists, some are artists. That it has nothing to do with want and everything to do with natural talent.

This idea is poisonous, not least in the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the human experience, but also in that it’s so wrong it stops us thriving in our chosen careers. Continue reading

Jonathan Edwards’ “Gen”: A Human Comedy

[originally published in Kamena Magazine]

It’s hard to find a funny poet – it seems that the vast majority of us are doomed to sit around bemoaning the sad state of the world as it is/was/always will be. It’s even harder to find someone who can be funny without being either superficial or depressing. But somehow, despite the many ways the world has changed for the worse in the four years since My Family and Other Superheroes, Jonathan Edwards has done it: he’s got me laughing again.

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Sports at University – Why joining a club is one of the best things you can do

[published in The Boar, 03/10/18]

The way I see it, there are three main ways you meet people in first year: your course, your accommodation, and the clubs that you join. My first year was pretty much decided from the offset.

Course: English is an absurdly large degree. There are hundreds of people, and everyone has to do the same modules for first year which means that you’re flooded with lectures of three hundred people. You’re lucky if you see the same person across two seminars

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