So things are happening…

Triskele Lit Fest: Sept 17, London

Pop-up bookshop, genre panels, Preserving the Unicorn, Human Library, goodie bags and non-stop booktalk.

This is not ‘talking about diversity’. This is being diverse.

Authors are invited to talk about their work – regardless of publishing route or ethnicity – readers are invited to add their opinions. This is for writers and readers, publishers and booksellers.

Rumour is, there’ll be a party too.


Creative Spark

Photo0030Sharpen your pencils, writerly sorts.

We have TEN weeks of creative writing exercises from expert tutors at your disposal.

Free. Yes, seriously free. No sign-up, no cash, no email address, this is open access.

And it is an imagination workout from some of the best international tutors there are. Drum roll…

Emma Darwin, Tracey Warr, Roz Morris, Jo Furniss, Amanda Hodgkinson, Lindsey Grant, Jessica Bell, Karen Pegg, Laurence O’Bryan and Triskele Books on all aspects of writing technique.

Starts July 1st and subsequent Fridays.

Join in, comment, share your results (if you like) and flex those writerly muscles.


The Woolf


Zürich’s cultural quarterly changes with the seasons.

Our next issue is themed Beginnings.

Have a look at our last issue – Borders.

And if you’d like to contribute something thinky and artistic, bring it on.



Can’t sign off this week’s blog without a comment. (It’s my blogpost and I’ll rant if I want to.)

All the above and more – Triskele Books, TLF, Creative Spark, The Woolf, WriteCon, Words with JAM and Bookmuse  – are the result of creative collaboration.

Collaboration is bloody hard work, often boring and frustrating, with as much energy devoted to peace-keeping as to creativity.

Sure, each of us could vote out and go it alone.

We could drop the whole thing and pursue our own egotistical agendas. Wear fake tan, go blond and thump our individual tubs.

But we don’t. We argue and discuss and get pissed/pissed off and laugh and agree and remind each of why we wanted to do this.

Every single project needs the hard slog of negotiation and commitment to the end result.

It works. It really does.

Generosity and openness, concessions and compromise lead to fabulous things, which sometimes involve Prosecco.

Teamwork, togetherness and the daily niggles of trying to do stuff with other people is damn good shit, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

The EU is hard work. But that is what democracy means. It cannot be summed up in a slogan, an image or a chant.

But I will quote my university professor: Go the bloody hard way. Don’t give up.

For me, that means Remain.








 Win a year’s mentoring from Triskele Books – from manuscript to publication – worth over £5000! 



Triskele Books is FIVE years old!

Amongst many exciting new ventures this year, we’re offering you the chance to win this extraordinary prize.

Triskele is based on a commitment to great writing, professional presentation and a strong sense of place.
As well as ethical operation and support for other writers.

So we’re using those FIVE principles to launch our first competition in conjunction with Words with JAM.

The Big Five #thebigfive


author 2


18/19 March: I’m speaking at Geneva Writers’ Conference on choices and the writing community.

14 April: Look out for me at London Book Fair Author HQ  talking collectives.

21/22 May: WriteCon16, Zürich – How To Publish, How To Market and Paths to Publication.

Online: You saw the Creative Writing Course blog I wrote for The Alliance of Independent Authors, right?





Zürich’s litmag is out. And this spring, we’ve going Down the Rabbithole.

Interviews, articles, events and a glorious gallery, come in and enjoy the strange and quirky cast who populate our Wonderland.


Image by Craig Kirkwood


“It’s a token payment, obviously.”

“We’re a charity, so can’t offer a fee.”

“We’re offering exposure instead of expenses.”

“To speak at the festival, you’ll have to buy a full-price pass.”


Philip Pullman set off a mushroom cloud by resigning as patron of the Oxford LitFest because they do not pay authors.

p pullman

The principle is very simple: a festival pays the people who supply the marquees, it pays the printers who print the brochure, it pays the rent for the lecture halls and other places, it pays the people who run the administration and the publicity, it pays for the electricity it uses, it pays for the drinks and dinners it lays on: why is it that the authors, the very people at the centre of the whole thing, the only reason customers come along and buy their tickets in the first place, are the only ones who are expected to work for nothing?


This led to a call for a boycott by author Amanda Craig in an open letter to The Bookseller.

amanda craigFor too long, authors have been persuaded to give our services to the public for free – even though the public is paying in good faith to see us. We are the only people in festivals who are not paid, and yet without us the festivals could not exist. Writing is a vocation but it is also a profession, and it is time we all stiffened our spines, dug in our heels and said No.


This was not the first criticism of literary festivals and the treatment of writers in general – Nicola Solomon of The Society of Authors sounded the alarm last November and again in January.

illustration by @jabberworks

illustration by @jabberworks


We should ensure that authors are paid properly for appearances.

Making appearances involves preparation and travelling time and authors earn their living as freelancers, so it is only fair that time is paid for.




I agree.

I stand up and applaud.

As a writer, speaker and panellist, of course. But also as a workshop and conference organiser.

audienceThe Woolf pays people for their time and experience (not just the event, but the travelling and preparation, plus expenses). It’s only fair. Speakers are the main reason people attend the event and should be remunerated. In the early days, we gave our time for free and even shelled out for any shortfall, but the speakers were always, always, paid.

Photography by Libby O'Loghlin

Philip Pullman, Nicola Solomon and Amanda Craig deserve applause and support for exhorting all of us who benefit from writers.

We need to make a New Year’s Resolution:

So here it is.

Ideas underpin publishing houses, television series, literary festivals, bookshops, bedtime stories, erotica on e-readers, audio-absorption for commuters, escapism to another world or examination of this one.

Ideas provide private introspection and collective water cooler conversations; stories, tales, narratives we need to make sense of life.

Ideas would be impossible without the imagination of the artist.

Ideas are worth paying for.

Treasure the storytellers.

Credit the creators.

Cough up.


JJ Marsh, Susan Jane Gilman, Joanna Penn, Libby O'Loghlin and Emma Darwin

JJ Marsh, Susan Jane Gilman, Joanna Penn, Libby O’Loghlin and Emma Darwin














After a crazy couple of weeks – attendance at FutureBook in London, release of two magazines, the Triskele launch party, a trip to Spain and to crown it all, big fat birthday celebrations – I’m back at my desk.

And I have a bunch of delicious treats to share with you.

Firstly, Author Day. I reported on events at 30 Euston Square for The Woolf Quarterly, which this winter takes the theme of Money. As publishers, authors, service providers and industry experts discussed the role of the author, I kept my focus trained on the cash. Here’s my full report, plus many more fascinating articles on the subject of dosh.


For Words with JAM literary ezine, the theme was Point of View. Using my theatre background as a springboard, I chose to explore five cultural reactions to a social issue: rape culture. Asking For It references play, novel, non-fiction, stand-up comedy and workshop.

asking for it jamie williams

Photo by Jamie Williams


Book publicists – what do they actually do? For the last three months, my colleagues and I at Triskele Books have been working with Literally PR, which has proved an educational and beneficial experience. Helen Lewis, director of the firm, shares her top tips for authors.

photo book

Photo by Libby O’Loghlin


literally PRThe launch party! You can read a full write-up of the event on Literally PR’s blog.


Or if you just fancy looking at a few pictures, Triskele picked some favourites to share.

triskele books 28.11.12

All the books are available in ebook or print and I’m happy to send out signed copies for £6.99/$8.99 plus postage. I’ll even chuck in a bookmark.

Human Rites Cover MEDIUM WEB