Latest News and Blog Posts

Murder at the Teatray

Murder at the Teatray

Crime Writing Workshop

A razor-sharp cake knife. Arsenic in the marzipan. A teaspoon of poison…

Portsmouth’s own crime novelists, Diana Bretherick and William Sutton, offer a two-hour workshop to help you develop your own mystery, thriller or detective writing. Get down to the nitty-gritty of plot, character and location, in Southsea’s elegant

>> Continue reading this post…

Vof, Meuh, Flotz [Wednesday Words]

Illustrator/lexicographical explorer, James Chapman illustrates international sounds. What do cows around the world sound like? Like this:

I’ve long been enchanted by the joys of onomatopoeia: from buzz to blam, through ululations, moos and whooshes. This joy was redoubled in my years living abroad, for example, when I heard the song Cucurrucucu:

Caetano Veloso – Cucurrucucu Paloma by

>> Continue reading this post…

Come and hear Portsmouth Fairy Tales [for Grown-Ups]

 [for Grown-Ups] opens @PompeyBookFest 2014 with a coruscating evening of author readings to celebrate the paperback launch of this collection of new Portsmouth stories, available for pre-order now.


These grumpy-looking but talented writers will be reading tales of visionary pasts, warped futures and shimmering presents from 7,30 on 23 Oct

Day of the Dead II: Hello Darkness

Macabre. Poignant. Gut-wrenching. Pungent.

DAY of the DEAD returns to the Square Tower, as Portsmouth Bookfest presents a chilling evening of new writing:

Day of the Dead II: Hello Darkness


Last year’s show was a sell-out success, with fifteen writers performing original stories, featuring memoirs, song, and an Elvis elegy.

This year is shaping up to be wilder

>> Continue reading this post…

‘mafficking’ ‘jammiest bits of jam’ & other fine Victorian slang [Wednesday Words]

50 bits of fantastic Victorian slang.

My own mutton shunter, Sergeant Lawless, wears gaspipes in his latest outing but I will now insist on him backslanging it, sticking his parish pickaxe into podsnappery, and mafficking with the jammiest bits of jam. Or is that buttering the bacon?

Thanks to Betty Herbert. “The goods are not ‘afternoonified’ enough for me.


>> Continue reading this post…

Fairy Tales

As tickets go on sale for

a tasty piece about  [for Grown-Ups] appears on p8 of Hampshire View Magazine this month.

Tessa Ditner, also know as @Culture Kiddo, writes about the 11 contributing writers who will be reading on 23 Oct in Portsmouth Guildhall as the launch event for Portsmouth BookFest 2014. Tessa tells amusing tales

>> Continue reading this post…

Insomniac Discoveries

Sometimes in the dark small hours, I leaf through books I’ve forgotten I’ve downloaded. I’m not an electronic reader by nature, but the pale glow of the phone is less disturbing than even the most discreet nightlight.

Canongate’s celebration of their 40th anniversary looked a neat giveaway when I spotted it.  Still a free ebook, it features a host of

>> Continue reading this post…

Knocker-up [Wednesday Word]

Knocker-up, Knocker-upper [noun]  A job in the Victorian era: a human alarm clock

I have read that pea-shooters were another option.

“It’s a ticklish job, with some of the heavy sleepers. They take such a lot of hammering to wake ‘em that the neighbours don’t like it; and he’s been pelted from windows and had water chucked down on

>> Continue reading this post…

Bampot [Wednesday Word]

Bampot [noun]  Insane person, nutter

In honour of my home nation of bampots voting Thursday. #indyref

Writer [Wednesday Word]

Writer: a peculiar organism capable of transforming caffeine into books.

It was via Pinterest I found this definition of our unruly trade. I was testing its veracity today  where this exquisite flat white blew my head off. The best

>> Continue reading this post…