I am sad. There I said it. I don’t like to be the sad one. Not that there’s anything wrong with being sad: we all feel like this sometimes, and some more than others. In fact, I’d argue that if you don’t feel sad sometimes then your skin is probably too thick, and you might […]

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’ve not been here for a while. The juggling of balls has been hard this summer, and there has not been enough pieces of me to share around. The baby is eight months now, and I’ve been ready for months to smooth out a white page, to fill it with words until every corner is […]

We went to the beach at East Wittering, a few hours drive away. The sea air was bracing, the sand between my toes cool. Beach huts in primary colours and bold patterns stood against the grey sky. The baby fussed, and I was secretly pleased to leave our frisbee-playing big kids in their father’s care […]

When humankind flounders in the shadows and the gods weep for a lost world, when tyrants roam our shores and women wear pearls at their necks to detract from the fear in their eyes remember So long as there is life and the trees grow silent and steadfast so long as the sun caresses your […]

Happy new year, readers. I hope the coming year finds you healthy and hopeful, that you uncover pockets of laughter, reach into your potential and fill the spaces of emptiness that sometimes haunt us all. I’m late with my well wishes, I know. I have an excuse though. Littlest Stelter was born a month ago, […]

I’ve not posted here for a while. I had lost my way. Sometimes the only thing to do is to retreat into your shell, hide away, let the storms of fear and despair pass. Maybe I’m still lost, but it helps to turn up to a blank page, to coax the swirl of words inside […]

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 […]

Last week my novel went out to beta-readers. Small sections of it have been seen by my critique group, but this is the first time it will be read consecutively, from beginning to end. I’m fiercely proud of the story, and simultaneously fearful about letting it travel out into the world, for now, beyond my […]

One of the mysteries of writing is how our processes evolve. We try our hand at different techniques until we find one that fits best. Distilled down to simple binary choices: plotting or pantsing, laptop or notebook, cafe or home, desk or lap, pant or pantless. Starting a blog was central to toughening up my […]

One of the ways we perceive those around us is by categorisation. Like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. We label people to understand them. She is ambitious: he is laid back. He is adventurous; she is scared of her own shadow. She is a ski bunny; he is a couch potato. She is black; […]

I wanted to write this sooner, but life got in the way. So here I am, a few days later, writing this post on the sofa bed of a tiny apartment in the Alps. Next to me, my husband is snoring. The kids have been asleep for hours. On the telly, of all things, Predator […]

I know the answer to this question, and if you are like me, you will be jumping up and down saying: everything! Everything is fair game in art. It is the role of the writer to imagine new worlds, entertain, explore themes, and ultimately to hold up a mirror of truth. It is why the […]

This wasn’t the post I had planned for today, but sometimes inspiration happens to make you bump your schedule. This weekend I was inspired by a workshop I attended called On Being Human led by Jen Pastiloff. If you haven’t heard of Jen already then look her up on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll find beautiful […]

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 […]

It is past midnight. My husband is snoring next to me. He has to wake in four hours to leave for a business trip. He sleeps despite the glow of my laptop and the sound of my fingers darting across the keyboard. I write, warming my cold feet on his calves. It’s one of those […]

My mum’s a giver. Instinctively, wilfully, even destructively. That is, she puts herself last. It’s a running joke in our family how often we hear the same phrase when speaking to mum on the phone: “I’ve not had time to brush my teeth yet.” My parents have an open door policy. The phone rings off […]

A gauze falls between her and the world Anchorless girl senses unreliable irises unseeing Her epidermis an armoured hedgehog which spurns touch The tide takes her sanity until she no longer knows who she is Everything becomes a performance The ticking of time a judge’s gavel Her make-up sits thick upon her skin like a […]

It’s only been a year and we are going home. We thought it would be two or even three. Three years away from the red and blue lights of London, the estates, the winding streets of terraced housing, the tube, the grit. I was ready to leave at the time. London had become like a […]

In case you missed it, it’s Nanowrimo (I’m hearing trumpets, triangles and all sorts in my head right now). I’ve been writing my socks off and so far I’m on track. Tough spots are lurking for me around the corner though as I tend to get saggy middle of the month syndrome. Still, for now […]