How to Cook Up a Writer

I’ve been telling stories for a long time, and graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in Creative Writing in 2006. I left with a 2:1 (half decent) but can’t bring myself to re-read a word that I set down back then.

I went on to pen shorts and flash that were published in literary anthologies, as well as being short and longlisted for an international prize (The Fish). It drilled me into the habit of making every word count.

I am at ease when delivering to an audience or delivering workshops. In the past I’ve taught evening classes in English Literature, Language and Creative Writing. Tutoring in colleges for over a decade, has helped me to develop a good grasp of education practice and learning theory.

At the Found for Words copywriting agency in Leeds I worked as a Junior. It was here that I discovered a love for creative collaboration –  owing major gratitude to the agency founder, Collette Davis. Col agreed to take on a raw wordsmith despite or maybe because of my total ignorance to marketing speak, and believed in my ability to pen a good yarn. At Found for Words I contributed to ad campaigns and briefs for the likes of Johnson Carmichael, Low + Bonar, and The University of Edinburgh Business School – in collaboration with Emperor Design. My time at FfW also allowed me to benefit from the skill and insight of brand-building geniuses Brand Insiders – who offered instrumental advice from experience.

I now keep a humble patch of my own. I’ve told stories and cultivated copy for a diverse array of clients in the retail, education & industrial sectors – including STANLEY Black + Decker, in collaboration with Kudos Creative.

My gardening experience is also wide-ranging. But probably a story for another time. When not tending word or plant, I can be found immersed in the wild, literature or football.

T h e   B e e r   G a r d e n

I once joined a brewing group and entered a regional competition while living in Queenstown, New Zealand. Unfortunately, my Mint Stout was raided by a Possum – and had to be commited to compost. It wouldn’t have won. I was up against Chemists with garage microbreweries.

While Writer-in-Residence at Sunseed – an off-grid sustainable living charity in Almería, Spain – I did manage to brew a sustainable Spirit. I’d tap a non-native Agave plant (a truly zero-waste plant) after breakfast. Thirty hours later – I’d be collecting fresh, sun-fermented Tequila. The poems wrote themselves on those days.


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