Dahlia Books Short Fiction Festival Weekend – 12 and 13 June 2021

The Short Fiction Festival Weekend, hosted by Dahlia Books, is a celebration of the short form, featuring writing workshops, author discussions and networking.

Led by some of the A Brief Pause tutors, the weekend is the ultimate retreat for anyone looking to master the short form.

Click here to find out more and to buy your ticket!


If you’re quick, you can still grab a ticket for an online reading and author talk with none other than Kathy Fish, queen of all things Flash Fiction, hosted by Dahlia Books. Click here for tickets.


Fancy putting some of that workshop knowledge to good use? Why not enter one of your own pieces of short fiction into the Leicester Writes annual competition or submit it to a new PAYING literary magazine called A Present Tense.


One of the positives to come out of the recent lockdown is the online festival and I think it’s here to stay. It’s perfectly suited towards all things bookish. I can honestly say that I’ve attended more virtual author talks, book launches, panel discussions, webinars and writing classes in the last year than the rest of my life combined. There was no rugby scrum for tickets, I didn’t need to book a train ticket or worry about it being cancelled due to the weather. I was able to ‘go to it’ even though the event was held in another country or I was feeling unwell. I didn’t need to find someone to go with, because everyone who attended was on their own. I have interacted with high profile authors in masterclass settings whilst still in my pyjamas. Delegates and Tutors have Zoomed in from all over the world, all coming together to learn, share their knowledge and network. I’ve felt safe, knowing that disruptive people would be booted out (Jackie Weaver style). Spoiler, I’ve never yet attended a Zoom class where anyone has been unfriendly or rude. I’ve found it a much more comfortable setting to learn, and think that these classes foster a sense of intimacy and community from the start.

125. How to Preserve a Memory

  1. Listen to an album of your choice at least twice a day for a fortnight. 4-6 weeks is better. Studies have shown that this is most effective when the album is a new release.
  2. Avoid all contact with photographs and film from the time, as those will dilute or overwrite any images in your head with theirs.
  3. After at least a decade, listen to the album again. If too intense, it may be possible to acclimatise with the Greatest Hits album. Occasionally, it may have fermented into regret or bitterness, so it is advisable to repeat step 1 little and often.
  4. The listening process cannot be skipped by the purchase of mint in box. This sterile environment will not marinate your emotions successfully. Reunion tours whereby an album is played in its entirity are also poor substitutes.
  5. Side effects can include but are not limited to: sadness at lost youth, ill behaviour, memory lucidity, increased motivation, crying, strains from dancing, anger at acoustic cover versions, the booking of concert tickets or purchase of band t shirts. Very rare side effects include a haircut, the purchase of a guitar or a camper van.
  6. Please enjoy nostalgia in moderation.

A Brief Pause for a Micro Podcast

Photo by Cory Vincent on Unsplash

*Disclaimer. This is not my actual home studio because I don’t have one. Maybe I will one day though. (No I haven’t been looking up the usb microphones that Emily St John Mandel or Limmy use. That was someone else who looks like me) However, I did actually recently dip a toe into the water of podcast/audiobook/storytelling.

Micro is a podcast for short, but powerful writing

I have always wanted to hear one of my stores read aloud but it never occurred to me that I could be the one to do it. If you’ve ever wondered what my voice sounds like, now is your chance to find out! Please enjoy.

click here to hear me read ‘Minted’

Minted was first published by Dime Show Review back in 2019.

The episode on micropodcast.org was released on Thursday 4th February 2021.

This may be a piece of flash fiction, but recording it was not quick. I live in a house with thin walls near to a school, so there is always the sound of next-door’s telly, car doors slamming or children’s voices. To try to muffle as much outside noise as I could, I piled cushions and a duvet around my desk, and put a giant bath towel over my head to create my own personal fort. Even though my audience was me and me alone, I still had to try to manage the nerves of ‘public speaking’ my own words out loud.


Most of us are staying at home these days, and we’re all getting used to the majority of our interactions with other people being through a screen. My experiences of video calling, facetiming, MSTeams and Zoom are a bit like when Laura Dern in Jurassic Park goes near to a computer screen. Communicating in writing via the chat function, Twitter, texts, emails and WhatsApp are now my default.


I was overjoyed to be accepted onto a short story creative writing, professional development course called ‘A Brief Pause‘. It is run by Dahlia Publishing with funding from Arts Council England and support from The Literary Agency. The list of tutors for the twelve, two hour Zoom masterclasses is impressive. (Xanthi Barker, Susmita Bhattacharya, Rebecca Burns, Emily Devane, Melissa Fu, Divya Ghelani, Anita Goveas, Abi Hynes, Farhana Khalique, CG Menon, Mahsuda Snaith, and Alison Woodhouse.) So I have to try to be cool and not fangirl too much, because this does feel like a big deal for me. I also have to remind myself that I don’t have to buy every single short story collection or writer’s guide that is mentioned!

Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

Lockdown III (the most controversial of the trilogy) has seen me scour YouTube and rediscover old episodes of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’. YouTube is a rabbit hole for book research as there is always someone who is a specialist in just the exact thing I need for my novel. It sometimes reminds me of being back in the Brownies, when a guest speaker would explain the workings of some puzzling contraption or how something was made. It’s strange to think that during the editing process, I will delete much of that (as yet unwritten) backstory as it will no longer be relevant and considered to be an infodump.

Writing should actually be called rewriting.