2020 Won. 2021 Too.

Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

It’s that time again, where people humblebrag their annual round robin of their writing achievements. This was my year of Zoom creative writing classes and I would never have been able to take so many lessons if they were ‘in person’ or I was not working from home. The pandemic has totally changed how I work, my interactions with others and my social life. I wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here.

This is a list (in no order or rank) of my personal writing highlights from 2021 and links to my words that were published elsewhere. I may not have been out of the house very much but my words have reached the far corners of the world. I have noted where each publisher is based, in brackets.

(If you are reading this in an email as a subscriber to my blog, then it is better viewed in a browser.)

Apple TV asked me if they could use my tweet about the Billie Eilish documentary. (USA)

In February, I recorded my story, ‘Minted’ for Micro, the podcast for short but powerful writing. (New Orleans, USA.) To try and win them over, I recorded a little intro, which they used as well! I am in very good company. There are some big names in the short fiction world who have contributed to this podcast. (George Saunders reading out ‘Sticks’ for one!)

Click here to listen.

One Day I’ll Hold Your Hand in Mine

I was part of an online Community poetry project, hosted by Curve Theatre (Leicester, UK) where we each contributed our thoughts about our experiences of lockdown into ‘The People’s Poem’. The collaborative poem can be seen in the final video below (the filming of which was my first social interaction with people in real life outside of my own home for over a year). Only the first stanza of my poem was used, but our entire poems were on display at Curve Theatre throughout the summer. A revised version of my poem, called ‘One Day I’ll Hold your Hand’ was published by Liquid Amber Press in an anthology. (Australia). You can purchase the book here.

My sci-fi flash fiction, ‘The Aspiration Project on Colony IV’ was published by Ab Terra in Issue 4 of their magazine. You can read it here. (USA)

2021 started well with an acceptance onto a professional development writer’s course, called ‘A Brief Pause’ run by Dahlia Books (Leicester UK). Read more here. The course culminated in the publication of a short story anthology in September called ‘Small Good Things’. You can buy it here.

My short story contribution, ‘The Women Who Swapped Their Baby For Salad’ was inspired by a twitter conversation earlier on in the year. Story ideas really do come from anywhere!

I’ve written more poems this year than short stories and a handful have gone onto have lives elsewhere. My eco poem ‘How We Used To Live’ was published by Pens of the Earth (Portsmouth UK). You can read it here.

I recorded another eco poem, ‘Tales from The Cashmere Hotel’ for the Art and Energy Collective (Plymouth, UK), and it was part of a community collaborative art ‘Moths to a Flame’ installation at Glasgow Botanic Gardens to coincide with COP 26. The poem will be included in a book, due out shortly. The installation won The Sustainability First People’s Art Prize 2021.

These are strange times we are living in.

Happy wintering, wherever you are reading this in the world. More tea, twinkly lights, peace, quiet and no surprises. Please.


It’s amazing what you can make from a sheet of paper, a pen and a pair of scissors. Throw in some old magazines, washi tape and some glue, and you have yourself a party.

Zines, pronounced ZEENS, but spelled zines as in magazine

Zines are home-made, DIY, self-published little booklets. They can be stapled or made from one sheet of paper, folded in such a way as to make six pages plus front and back covers. If you’re thrifty, you could make a 2 in 1 version by writing/printing on both sides of the paper, so you get to see one of the other zine depending on how you fold it.

They can be on any topic you like – art, politics, short stories, identity, what I did last summer, food, my so-called life, mental health, animals, the state of the nation – absolutely anything. They were pretty popular when I was a teenager back in the late 80s. I remember reading some feminist Riot Grrrl ones and a few band/gig review ones. Back then, there was no internet, so spreading the word to potential future members of your tribe was much more difficult than it is now.

I’m rubbish at drawing, which I why my zines are mostly made up of words cut from magazines. I’ve hit my stash of washi tape hard. I really enjoy the process of getting into the flow of creating. This is a slow craft. Old school analogue, even, yet so easily shared with others.

I’ve found this video on YouTube which shows how to make one. Honestly, they are so simple. No verbal instructions are necessary. Give it a go! Fun for all ages.

My newer zines are made from A3 paper. Once the zine is made, I shrink it on my home copier at 71% to make it A4-sized. Fortunately, I only have a black and white scanner/photocopier/printer combo, because a colour one could become quite and expensive habit! I must admit that I have made a few copies of each one, just in case I get invited to a zine fair at some point in the future (where I could sell or trade them) way off when we all start doing social things again.

This is one I made earlier, in its glorious natural state.

Regular readers may remember that I recently made a multi-page short story/poetry zine with a printed cover for a socially-distanced library event. I may make some more. They’re a whole lot easier and more fun to make than e-books. If/when I do any performance poetry/spoken work with an IRL audience (again at some hopeful time in the future, when life feels safer again) I will create a little zine to read my poem from while I’m onstage.

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my world of what I’ve been up to lately!

Extra points for anyone who knows which magazines I’ve hacked up to obtain the cut-out words!

In the spirit of the culture of zines, below are a few that I’ve shared with other organisations. They are in convenient video format on YouTube.

I sent a few of my zines to Leicester Zine Library and they were kind enough to create a lovely Instagram post about them

Moths To A Flame at Cop 26

So darn it!

As the threads of my life unweave

We still need this planet to breathe.

Tales From The Cashmere Hotel

My poem, ‘Tales From The Cashmere Hotel’, will be part of an art installation at Glasgow Botanic Gardens in Scotland to coincide with the United Nation Climate Change Conference 2021 (31st October to 12th November 2021), known as Cop 26. It will also be published in a book of poetry, with an introduction from the poet, Matt Harvey.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see the exhibition (or press the button to hear myself read out my poem) so if you get any photos or footage from the exhibition, please let me know. I’d love to see them!

Thank you to the Art and Energy Collective for organising this project. The thousands of milk bottle moths should be amazing.

the collective noun for moths is a whisper…

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash


The book is available to buy or is free on ISSUU

Moths to a Flame – Presented by The ART and ENERGY Collective: