Latest News and Blog Posts

Lorraine Bowen’s VITAL ORGANS


My interview with lovely Lorraine Bowen for Speak Up Brazil in 2005. Good luck, #LoBo @Bowen707

LORRAINE BOWEN’S VITAL ORGANS                        Alternative Music

Few songwriters create their own world as evocatively as Lorraine Bowen. Her songs are soaked in the comforting atmosphere of suburban England. Her versatile vocals have appeared on records from Italy to

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Penning Pompey

My piece for the second issue of local news website, Star & Crescent. Some strong piece on election issues:

Penning Pompey

Exciting developments in Portsmouth’s small but perfectly formed literary scene.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub is about to appoint a new coordinator. (Hmm: doesn’t sound that sexy. Consider a rewrite? Let’s try again.) “Pompey Penmonkeys are Go.”

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The Society of Timid Souls

The Society of Timid Souls, or How to Be Brave, by Polly Morland

An extraordinary and brave book. The stories in themselves are powerful. (My wife kept asking why I was crying, or laughing, or flinching.) The tales of warfare, bomb disposal, firefighting and high-wire walking first make you ask yourself: could I do what they did? Would I

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Tenacity: a breathless underwater tale by JS Law

Tenacity, JS Law


It’s always a pleasure to be inducted into a secret world, with an author who clearly knows their stuff, yet leads you in through a character who must learn the ropes as avidly and anxiously as they can.

A murder, a suicide, an investigation on a submarine: a hundred hostile men, and one

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Literature Worker in the City of Portsmouth details

Portsmouth Literature Worker


New Writing South is looking for an enthusiastic and capable person to take on the part time (20 hours a month) role of Literature Worker in the City of Portsmouth.


The role will include managing the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, a dedicated community of writers that will meet monthly providing opportunity for all kinds of creative

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Portsmouth Literary Worker

It’s a surprise and a delight to announce that Portsmouth City Council have teamed up with New Writing South to create a new post of

Portsmouth Literary Worker

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Dylanology and Plagiarism

The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob by David Kinney

This weaves a wonderful spell. I was taken disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Kinney. Phrase by phrase, character by character, he built up Bobdom around us. Until, in the final section, we didn’t know what to think. Which sends us

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The Darks @TateBritain

I loved Janet Cardiff’s walk The Missing Voice (Case Study B) from Whitechapel Library all those years ago (still available, I believe, and well worth it).

I couldn’t resist an audio guide around Tate Britain, with writer friends Sarah Salway and SJ Butler.

I knew this had been the site of a dark brooding prison, marked on

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Invigorating Engravings

It’s astonishing how flicking through images will spark a new train of thought. If only we could go back and smell the place. A noisy racket there must have been, and a more feverish uncertain aspect to life.

Flowers of Sin: inspiring images gathered on Pinterest.

The Garden Party

Everybody was scandalising each other, flaunting their fascinators

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Slang a la Hotten

 Patron Books for #FlowersofSin

The third of my four Victorian inspirations is the Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant and Vulgar Words (1859) by arch-lexicographer (and pornographer) John Camden Hotten. You cannot imagine how excited I was to bat with his descendant, Jon Hotten, at last summer’s West Meon Literary Festival.

Historical origins


We often think slang is new, with its

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