Stars: a story for the solstice

To mark the winter solstice on this extraordinary year, as well as the close alignment of two great luminaries on 21 December 2020 , I shared my short story, Stars, in this post for a month.

Stars was first published in the Arachne Press anthology Solstice Shorts: Sixteen stories about TIME and read on this day at the first Solstice Shorts Festival, at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 2014.

2014 was also the year that I created this site. Thank you to everyone who has visited over the last six years.

Photo by Free Nature Stock on

At the Edge

This is Porthtowan, on the north coast of Cornwall, a few days ago. Such beautiful light on the water. Moments like this, of warm, winter sunlight and stillness at the edge of the sea, feel very precious – perhaps more than ever this year.

I hope to have some news to share about 2021 soon; in the meantime, I’d like to mention Bookshop , an online bookshop which financially supports local, independent bookshops.

When placing an order, you can nominate a specific local bookshop who will receive the full profit from your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookshops. You can read all about the organisation here.

At the time of writing, Bookshop had already raised over £400,000 for bookshops in the UK. I’m delighted that my books, Travelling in the Dark, Cornish Short Stories and The Lost of Syros, are available in the UK through this great new service.

Ten Years of Short Stories

It is ten years this month since my short story, Katherine and the Lighthouse, was published in the lovely journal The Parabola Project. Since then, thirteen more of my stories have appeared in a wide variety of print publications. Others have appeared in literary journals online.

It’s been a great joy to see my stories in print over the last decade, and I wanted to celebrate by assembling copies of the journals and anthologies my work has appeared in. As you can see, there is a fascinating variety! From the tiny to the more substantial, they are all unique and lovely.

Thank you to all these publications and the great people behind them: The Parabola Project, The Yellow Room, The Frogmore Papers, Dream Catcher, The Interpreter’s House, Takahē, Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time, The Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, Elbow Room, Palm Sized Press, and Bonsai: The Big Book of Small Stories.

The stories are individually listed here.

More Cornish Short Stories on Source FM

During September, the Story Hour on Source FM kindly broadcast some more wonderful pieces from Cornish Short Stories.

The Hope of Recovery by Elaine Ruth White, The Maple is in Blossom by Cathy Galvin and I Turn on my own Axis by Felicity Notley were featured on Friday 18 September. You can listen again here.

The stories read on Friday 4 September were:
That Same Sea by Adrian Markle, The Kiss by Philipa Aldous and Home Between Sea and Stone by Tim Martindale. Listen again here

The stories were read by members of Penryn Community Theatre and the shows were produced by Patrick Haughton.

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing is published by The History Press. Order it from your local bookshop!

The Lost of Syros

I’m so happy that a copy of my 2015 short story collection has found its way back to the island of Syros in the Greek Cyclades.

The left hand photograph shows the book cover against its inspiration, the town of Ermopouli, and on the right is Kini.

As you can see, Syros is a beautiful place. It is very much a working island with a fascinating history. Although I have not been back since the early 1990s, I hear from a reliable source that it still retains a good deal of its magic.

So, here’s to Syros – to those who were lost on her, and to those who have found themselves there.

The Lost of Syros, Cultured Llama Publishing 2015

Travelling in the Dark – North American launch

I’m very pleased and excited to say that Travelling in the Dark will be launched in the US and Canada in May 2021, as part of the Fairlight Books release of their titles into the North American market.

Travelling cover

Travelling in the Dark will be represented by Trafalgar Square Publishing, which is part of IPG


Cornish Short Stories on The Source FM, July

Two excellent stories from Cornish Short Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Cornish Writing will feature on The Source FM in July. Listen in on 96.10FM or here

First up, at 2pm on Friday 3rd July is Rob Magnuson Smith’s magical Sonny, about the unexpected impact an injured seagull has on the life of a long term couple.

At the same time on Friday 10th July, you can hear Emma Staughton’s The Siren of Treen, a contemporary reworking of the traditional Cornish tale The Mermaid of Zennor.

copyright woodcuts @Angela Annesley/ cover image @Vita Sleigh

If you missed the earlier shows, there is still time to listen again to The Superpower by Sarah Perry,  The Haunting of Bodmin Jail by Anastasia Gammon and Roaring Girl by Alan Robinson here.

Ballast by Sarah Thomas can be heard again here.

Our thanks to The Story Hour producer Patrick Haughton, the actors from Penryn Community Theatre, and The History Press.

Cornish Short Stories on Source FM

A small selection of stories from Cornish Short Stories will feature on Source FM’s Story Hour at 2-3pm over the coming weeks. Listen in on 96.10 FM or online

First up, on Friday 12th June are ‘The Haunting of Bodmin Jail’ by Anastasia Gammon, ‘Roaring Girl’ by Alan Robinson and ‘The Superpower’ by Sarah Perry. You can listen again here. 

On Friday 19th June, Sarah Thomas’s wonderful story ‘Ballast’ is included in the programme. A must for those who love Cornwall’s magical gardens.

A further two stories will feature in July – more details to follow.

The Short Story Hour

The Story Hour is a weekly programme which broadcasts short stories by writers, past and present, from Cornwall. The show’s producer is Patrick Haughton and the stories are read as written by actors from Penryn Community Theatre.

Source FM is a community radio station which broadcasts to residents of Falmouth and Penryn and reaches 7,000 + listeners a week. Both Source FM and Penryn Community Theatre are not-for-profit organisations run by volunteers, and we are delighted to be working with these local organisations.

The DLF Local Writing Prize

This year’s Hall and Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize is open for submissions until 20th March 2020. My novella Travelling in the Dark was lucky enough to win last year’s prize, which aims to bring to wider attention writing from or about the West Country.

The prize is open to book length submissions of works of fiction, non-fiction, or short stories published by a local independent publisher or self-published, from any writer based in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall or with a close connection to those counties.

Further information and a submission form can be found here.

Hall and Wodhouse

Kind sponsors Hall and Woodhouse, whose brewery was established in 1777, have been supporting writers in various ways over their many years of business. Thomas Hardy was apparently very fond of their famous Badger Beer.

Hall and Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize 2019

I am absolutely delighted that Travelling in the Dark has won this year’s Hall and Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize. The prize was set up in 2018 by Dorchester Literary Festival organisers Janet Gleeson and Paul Atterbury to celebrate writing from the West Country.

The £1000 prize was awarded by guest of honour Minette Walters at a ceremony held in the Duchess of Cornwall Inn, Poundbury, Dorset on 18 July 2019. My thanks to Lucinda Gray and Anthony Woodhouse of Hall and Woodhouse who kindly sponsor this award.

It was lovely to meet the other shortlisted writers and hear readings from their books. They were Susmita Bhattacharya for her short story collection Table Manners, Dee La Vardera for her work of non-fiction The Road to Civitella, and runner up Maria Donovan for The Chicken Soup Murder.

The DLF announcement can be found here.