Article in Mslexia

An article by Emma Claire Sweeney and me appears in the new issue of Mslexia. Its theme is rivalry between female author friends – a subject that we became interested in through our wider research into writing friendships.

We’d touched on issues of friction within writers’ relationships in the talk we gave at the NAWE conference last year and also in a piece we wrote for The Times. But we felt it was an issue that could be explored in more detail, which was why we approached Mslexia with our idea for the feature.

Although rivalry is often regarded as only a detrimental force within a friendship, Emma Claire and I know from our own relationship that the competition between us has been good for us as writers, and good for our friendship too – since it’s encouraged greater honesty between us.

We wanted to find out whether other authors felt the same way. As well as investigating the historical friendship between rivals Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, we sought the opinions of several modern-day writers to get their views on the subject too.

Many thanks to Polly Coles, Amanda Craig, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Liz Jensen and Madeline Miller for your insights.

Mslexia Issue 57 is out now.

Next year’s Mslexia Writer’s Diary

The Mslexia diary I’d ordered arrived this week. As usual, in addition to all the calendar-related stuff you’d expect, it contains inspiring words by writers, a useful directory and summary of The Writing Year ahead, and plenty of blank pages for scribbling down ideas.

The diary’s theme in 2013 is collaboration and the Inspirations page for August focuses on the writing friendship between Emma Claire Sweeney and I, which we talked about in our feature in The Times back in May and also in our recent discussion panel at the NAWE conference.

Also mentioned in our Mslexia entry are Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Emily Pedder and Monique Roffey, who were amongst the writers we interviewed for the Times article.

The Silent History

It’s been a busy week, what with the SI Leeds Literary Prize award ceremony to go to in Ilkley and the start of my new OU course, so I’ve only just found a moment to blog about The Silent History, a new kind of novel written especially for iPad and iPhone, which launched this week.

The story is presented in two forms, Testimonials and Field Reports, and tells the story of a generation of unusual children, their families and the communities that surround them. I am the author of one of the first London field reports and I am really looking forward to visiting the site where it takes place and experiencing my writing as part of the novel as a whole.

The Silent History, available for download from the App Store, is a collaboration between Kevin Moffett (author of Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events and Permanent Visitors), Matthew Derby (author of Super Flat Times), Russell Quinn (co-founder of digital studio Spoiled Milk), Eli Horowitz (former managing editor and publisher of McSweeney’s), and contributors on five continents.

I’m very glad to be a part of this great new project, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.