I am a novelist/non-fiction author. My latest book is The Fragments of my Father, a memoir/creative non-fiction book about love, madness and being a carer. It was written with the support of Arts Council England and published by 4th Estate in 2020. It explores my personal story of becoming a carer to my Dad, who has schizophrenia. Woven in is the history of caring and literary biography, examining Leonard Woolf as a carer to Virginia Woolf and F Scott Fitzgerald as a carer to Zelda. It was reviewed by the Times as ‘beautifully written…a brave and original book filled with all kinds of glittering fragments – personal, literary and political.’ If you fancy reading the first few chapters, please click here.
I have published 6 other books, including the novel The Quiddity of Will Self (Corsair), which aims to be the literary equivalent of Being John Malkovich. It centres a secret cult of authors that worship Will Self with bizarre orgiastic initiation rites, resulting in murder, madness and mayhem. The Sunday Times described it as ‘a funny, inventive, ingenious, and energetic and read’ and the Guardian as so ‘ambitious and outrageous as to defy conventional review’.
Later this year, Dead Ink will publish my weird horror novella The Castle, as part of their Eden Book series. I’ve also had pieces published in various anthologies. I contributed an essay about growing up on benefits/Universal Credit to the Know Your Place Anthology for working class writers (Dead Ink Books), and a short story called Andromeda in the Disturbing the Beast anthology of weird fiction by female writers (Boudicca Press). The In Yer Ear anthology (edited by Julia Bell and Dave McGowan) featured my poem The Mr Men Fetish Club.
I first got published when I sent the opening chapter of A Nicer Way To Die to Faber & Faber in 2004, back in the day when publishers still read their slush piles. I went onto write 3 more crossover novels for Faber, followed by another for Atom. My YA novel Blackout, a dystopian satire about censorship, was nominated for various prizes. It received a Carnegie nomination, won the Stockport Schools award, receiving 2nd place in the Lancashire Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Manchester Book Prize and the RED Falkirk Prize. For the past 6 years a theatrical theatrical adaptation (renamed 2043) has been running in France/Belgium, adapted by Collectif Menseul. The Boys Who Saved the World, a satire on the war on the terror, is being adapted for film by filmmaker Hassan Sherif.
I have written for various publications, including the Guardian, The Independent, The New Humanist, and I occasionally review for The Spectator. I published a long, feminist essay about female avant-garde writers for The Weeklings. I have judged the Luke Bitmead Novel prize for Legend Press and in 2020, I was a judge for the Republic of Consciousness Prize; we chose Animalia as our winner.
I am the co-founder and MD of Dodo Ink, an indie press dedicated to publishing daring and difficult literary fiction. I run this in my spare time; we publish books we love as and when we can, working unpaid and for the love of it. The authors I have edited include Neil Griffiths, Tom Tomaszewski, Seraphina Madsen and Monique Roffey. Our next publication will be Trauma, an anthology of essays about art and mental health.
My next book will be The Watermark, a weird love story about free will versus fate, exploring two lovers who surf through books/narratives. It will be published by Granta Books in 2024.
I live in London with my father and my cat.
I am represented by Cathryn Summerhayes