Category Archives: Memoir

Writing isn’t just about having an idea – you have to know what to do with it

I’m sitting at the bar of a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, scribbling away. A man, standing next to me, gestures at my notebook and says: what do you write? I’m actually writing about my notebook, I tell him. Some people who … Continue reading

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That tightrope moment in writing when stories either plummet or remain

Any story that’s going to be any good is usually going to change. I’ve been reading Alice Munro again. There was a point when I suddenly became afraid of the day I’d read all her stories and no more were … Continue reading

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Write of things you love

Three years ago, I spent a week in Shropshire and finally began to write of things I loved. These were memories of the farm I grew up on. For years, they’d been fidgeting as I sat down to work on … Continue reading

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Balls, heartbreak and the real Jane Austen

The fire throws its warmth across the room and one of the guests has stretched out on the sofa to sleep. Though Miss Bingley has a book in her lap her attention is on Darcy as he reads his own. … Continue reading

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The conundrum of being ourselves

During my second term at drama school, we had to face Shakespeare. All the students were frantic as agents from the RSC would be in the audience, scouting for new talent. There were tears after rehearsals. The toilets stank with … Continue reading

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The wisdom of funk and soul, baby

The day before my fifteenth birthday, I’m on the bank of a river, attempting to have sex with a boy I hardly know. He’s a year older and would be the first person who came to mind if I heard … Continue reading

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What’s the problem with being up a mountain with no phone signal or orienteering skills?

It has begun to rain. The wind comes in cycles – building, building – so that at its peak my body wobbles and I contemplate the steepness below me: images of tumbling headfirst down lumps and bumps, through sharp grass. … Continue reading

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