Sometimes I come to a blank page because I have something to say; at other times, I come here because my mind needs excavating before I can move forward. Today is one of those days. Writing fiction is a strange beast. Readers have an idea of what it might be like: writers working on their […]

I’m Muslim, did you know? You might have guessed, from how I look I suppose. I once was interviewed by a woman, who after I got the job, confided in me that she could almost always tell someone’s religion after speaking to them for five minutes. I wonder if she could tell also that I’d […]

It’s been a long summer and the kids are just settling back into their nursery and school routines. I have yet to find my writing rhythm, the one where I feel no resistance, where I believe in myself and the work is a joy. More than a few days away from my desk and my […]

Come into my laboratory where I toil over a bunsen burner, pearled beads of sweat on my forehead You’ll find me in a white coat and goggles the Mary Shelley of my time venturing into the dark when all is lost I hover at the abyss: a witch, a mad scientist, a soul doctor risking […]

Today I feel lost and broken and sad. I’m sitting in the conservatory of the house we rent in Geneva. The doors are open and a light breeze is playing with the hem of my dress. The sky is a blue blanket dotted with wisps of cotton. I want to fly into it and disappear. […]

I dreamt of you when I was a girl a hazy promise, alien and enchanting The vision bore fruit decades later, a happy union of God, luck and human biology When the time came you slithered out covered in vernix, beautiful from the moment I saw you, a part of myself I did not recognise: […]

Sadness heaves inside me, waves of rolling sickness Weight has found a home in the midst of my brow, and in the corners of my downturned mouth Spaces flooded with blackness Concrete over springing joy, sucking away momentum And I am frozen in time.

It’s a horrible habit, isn’t it? Waking up and before you’ve even stretched to reach for your phone on the nightstand. I do it daily, scanning the news headlines and social media before my eyes have even focussed. It’s the sort of action which removes you from your physical environment and throws you into the […]

I’ve spent the past month yearning for time to write, to dive feet first into a pool of creativity and find truths in made up worlds. Today, with the kids back at school, London visits behind me and chores done, I climbed the stairs tentatively to the attic we have set up as my writer’s […]

I’m going to be 33 years old in a few weeks. Hardly any age at all perhaps, although the white hair springing up around my temples would tell you otherwise. I remember how at 14 years old those in their thirties seemed to me to be dinosaurs. As a child I was sure that by […]

My head has been a whirr this week, as my final day at City Hall came and went, amidst leaving cards and speeches and the sense that a significant phase of my life has come to an end. I was a school girl when I first became interested in politics. I’d gone along to a […]

Excitement is fizzing and popping underneath my calm exterior at the moment. Change is afoot, with its candy-scented promise of success. It’s not the type of change that happens out of the blue, when you are unprepared and unsuspecting; it is the sort I initiated myself. You see, for a long time my career choices […]

I remember reading interviews with famous women when I was younger where they talked about how comfortable they began to feel with themselves when they hit their thirties. At fourteen years old, thirty seemed a long way off.  I was an awkward teenager, full of doubt and eager to please others. The years have, of […]

Last week was my first time in the judge’s seat for Flash! Friday. I had a blast (read my comments on the winners here). It never fails to amaze me how one prompt can generate so many different stories, and it was again a lesson to me about how individual we are and how that […]

When I was pregnant with my daughter a little over four years ago, I remember my mum bringing up religion with my husband, who is an atheist. ‘The moment you see the baby born, you’ll hear hallelujahs, I’m sure of it,’ she said, only half teasing. ‘You can’t witness something so magical without believing in […]

Have you ever been tempted to publish your work anonymously or take a pseudonym? If yes, you’d be following in the footsteps of some of the literary greats, such as the Brontë sisters (Ellis, Acton, and Currer Bell), Cecil Day-Lewis (Nicholas Blake), Jane Austen (A Lady) and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who all decided for […]

This week I’ve been thinking about how the year has passed so quickly.  Do you remember that feeling when you were at school and the weeks seemed to drag? Or how it seemed that you were fifteen forever?  Every birthday took an age to come round and you really, really, wanted to be older, worldly, […]

Do you ever feel that your life is not your own? Sometimes life throws a curve ball, which disrupts our plans and we have no choice but to deal with the fallout.  However, just as outside forces can limit our freedom, our own attitudes and behaviours can keep us imprisoned.  There is one trait that […]

Tonight Hana, I am lying here in bed at a childishly early hour writing directly to you because I can find no other way to process what happened.  Soothing words are little comfort, television is hollow and sleep is not possible, although I have tried.  As ever, the solution is to write, to pour all […]

It’s no secret to followers of this blog or my twitter account (@nzstelter) that I write.  I write daily.  I write reports, briefings, proposals and correspondence for my day job.  In my own time, I continue writing.  I journal, write stories or blog posts.  I invent stories for my daughter.  Writing allows me to crystallise […]