Month: August 2012

What To Do While You’re Waiting For Paradise

In a week’s time I will be waking up thinking about the day and evening before.

In just under a week’s time, on Saturday 25th August, I will be waking up, probably too early, probably feeling a little sick, panicking slightly about the day ahead.

So, Saturday 15th August, at Greenbelt, you will find me at 12.45pm in The Hub, giving my talk (What To Do While You’re Waiting For Paradise) which is about what to do in the space between having written something (like a novel or collection of stories) and waiting to hear from agents or publishers. The talk should appeal to anyone who has not yet published but has that goal, anyone who is a bit interested in self publishing, and anyone who writes but struggles to call themselves a writer.

I will also be talking about my book, Widows’ Row, a young adult novel dealing with outsider issues, religion, sexuality and death (sounds fun, right?!). Recently enjoyed by the beautiful Peterson Toscano, who you should also seek out at Greenbelt!

After I have recovered from doing my first ever Greenbelt talk (it might take a while) I will be appearing at midnight, like a large spooky vampire, in the InSense venue as part of this year’s offering by Ikon, who are appearing simultaneously in two countries. It is probably the most ambitious thing we have attempted, but you’ll forgive us if the teleporter breaks and the world ends, won’t you?

Ikon this year has been officially endorsed by tweeted by the Rev Richard Coles, who I’d also recommend going to hear.

I’m looking forward to being there and to meeting new people and hearing new voices, and voices that I already know and love.

See you there!

I’ll leave you with the song that’s been going round in my head as I’ve been typing this.

Greenbelt ’12

Over on the Greenbelt website they’re asking people to list five acts that they’re looking forward to seeing at Greenbelt this year. This will be my first Greenbelt speaking on my owny-o so I hope no-one minds if I include myself in my ‘Greenbelt Five’ list because I am genuinely looking forward to experiencing myself in a new way at the festival this year ūüôā

Five acts I’m excited about seeing at Greenbelt this year:


The first time I attempted to write this blog post, typing P√°draig’s name made the entire post disappear. I expect this is a sign from the blog gods that one should be reverent when speaking of¬†P√°draig. They¬†needn’t have worried though because I think¬†P√°draig is ace.

I’ve worked with¬†P√°draig in Belfast and at Greenbelt many times as part of Ikon. He is a ¬†provocative and inspiring and wise person, and I’m glad he writes (beautiful) poetry because it means that you can always have a little bit of¬†P√°draig with you. I hope the blog gods are satisfied, but I would have written that anyway. You’ll just have to trust me on that.

Peterson Toscano

I met Peterson in 2008. It was a very brief meeting. I found him engaging a queue of people who wanted to speak to him, pressed a little letter I’d written into his hand, and ran away. I was inspired to write that note after seeing his one-man performance ‘Doin’ Time At the Homo No Mo Halfway House’- a play that made me laugh and cry and think. Since then I’ve seen Peterson perform several times but I’ve always managed to miss Transfigurations- a play about gender-queer bible characters. So I am really excited about seeing him performing Transfigurations at Greenbelt this year. I image the queues won’t be any shorter – get there early!

The Imagined Village 

All I really know about The Imagined Village is the work they did with Benjamin Zephaniah. That alone makes me want to be there to see them. I have a feeling they’ll great.


Well, I wish Ikon was going to be there this year.

We are going to be there.

Not really.

Ikon are definitely (not) going to be there this year.

So please (don’t) come and see us…




I am speaking at Greenbelt this year! Woo Hoo! 12.45pm on Saturday at the Hub, I think.

I am massively excited about it.

I’ve been on Greenbelt stages a number of times over the years with Ikon- reading my work, and, y’know, knitting, simulating self-immolation, that kind of thing, but ¬†this is the first time for me doing a talk.

My title is ¬†‘What To do While You’re Waiting for Paradise’ and my talk will be aimed at those people who are interested in the space that writers find themselves in between having written something and having published something.

Sending submissions to agents and publishers is hard work in itself, but is there anything that writers can do beyond waiting and hoping? I think there is and I want to share my practical experiences of engaging with the local community, accidental self-publishing and creating your own writing community. My talk will not be about how much better any path to publishing is than any other path (although I might have a rant about that particular conversation), but I will talk a little bit about my thoughts and experiences of self publishing and I will also be reading from my recently self-published novel for young adults, Widows’ Row.

I am just writing the talk now so if there’s something that comes to mind along those lines that you’d like to hear more about why not drop me a line ( There will be time for questions after the talk but I know that writers often come to talks about the writing life with specific questions that they’d like answered (I know I do). If you want to throw those over to me I will do my best to write my responses into the talk.

That’s it! I’m excited! I hope you are too. See you there!