Thursday, 28 February 2013


How are you all? Getting ready for Emirates Festival of Literature in Dubai, here. Hopefully there's little chance of it being rained off, like the Festival of Historical Writing I was booked for last summer, when Roman legions and WW2 re-enactors had to be rescued from the flooded site and the author tent collapsed under the weight of water. The thought of a week away from home surrounded by writers and writing is exhilarating, and I can't wait. The pilot is gallantly hanging up his uniform and stepping up to childcare duty - the children think they are in for a week long party, the only concern 'what will we eat'? We'll see.

The Festival author list is sensational this year - maybe you can spot some of your favourites there. I'm really looking forward to the panel interviews, and the Masterclass has sold out, which is great news. The best workshops I've done have been busy, interactive, challenging, and I'm hoping this one will be too. What have been your best writing class experiences? Love to hear your ideas.

I'm teaching a workshop in Abu Dhabi to 100+ kids at an American school too (which I imagine will make the adult class look like a cakewalk). The practice run here was a hoot - heckled mercilessly for an hour by 7 - 11 year olds. It was worth the prep - I have reached the 'gah Mum you're so lame' stage here and I wanted to check I didn't come across as totally uncool (which in itself is probably an excruciatingly uncool phrase to an 11 year old ...). Sometimes I think being a parent is absolutely the best thing for keeping any remote sense of ego in check.

I'll report back in a week with all the latest news, tips and advice on writing. Everywhere I look at the moment on You-Twit-Face are comments like: 'hold your nerve'. It's not an easy economic time for anyone, and the publishing game is changing rapidly. But I'm a big believer in simply doing the best work you can, constantly striving to raise your game. (A great tumblr I saw the other day said: Good things come to those who wait. Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up). 

This is just the beginning. Keep your head up, keep heart-strong - and keep writing. x


  1. Whenever I see a post from you I want to go, like, KAAAAAAAAAATE!

    The festival sounds fabulous. As I looked down the list of participants, I thought (a) WOW, what a list! (b) You know, self, you really don't read enough... (c) WOW, what a list and I know somebody on it!

    Sometimes I can barely imagine what it must be to have built an alternate life in an environment like the one you're living in. It's kind of like knowing personally one of those people who've volunteered for the one-way trip to Mars. (Not that I DO know any of them, and not that your own trip is one-way.)

    Is your workshop on something in particular? Will they by any chance make videos available, like the TED talks?

    (Thanks as always for the music, too.)

  2. Hi John - thank you, let's *hope* it's not one way ...

    The workshop is on writing historical fiction (adults), and 'Bringing the Past to Life' for the kids. Should be fun :)


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