"To write anything worth reading you have to put everything you have into every sentence. There can be no lazy thinking, no clichés, no borrowed tropes, no third-hand experience; there can be no hiding.” Miranda Darling
One person trying to be three or four

One person trying to be three or four

Not many of my days are the same but the range they cycle through remains consistently varied. Let’s take a random sample, say, yesterday, and see what happened in 24 hours of my writing life… Weather: 15 degrees and torrential rain. Bondi Beach, Edge of the World. It hasn’t stopped raining for four days, the sort...
All You Have to Do Is Care

All You Have to Do Is Care

Salena Godden’s latest poetry collection With Love, Grief and Fury gives an ample and elemental display of her deepest passions. Filled with the vulnerability, rage and dismay that define contemporary living, it also delivers a stirring dose of inspiration, hope and empathy. Personal and political, the subjects range from civil...
Anatomy of an obsession

Anatomy of an obsession

You’re likely wondering what all this is about – my aim in contacting you. It’s been three years since rain flicked our glasses as we stood inches apart and I stared at your quivering upper lip, which always reminded me of the tilde: ~. Last week, a journalist contacted me....
Elsa Drucaroff, Rodolfo Walsh and Argentina

Elsa Drucaroff, Rodolfo Walsh and Argentina

The years of the military Junta cast a very long shadow in Argentina, and it’s thoroughly poignant that Rodolfo Walsh’s Last Case appears in English just as the country has taken a swerve in a desperate new direction. I had never heard of Rodolfo Walsh. That was put right by...
Kate Brody: Missing people, muddled lives

Kate Brody: Missing people, muddled lives

Kate Brody’s pacy debut thriller is a novel of our times. A missing woman, social media conspiracy theories, mental health issues, suspicion, trust, self-harm and family trauma are woven together to give us a troubling, riveting and sharply written noir set on America’s East Coast. What’s the worst that can...
No I won't 'calm down' about Greta Gerwig

No I won’t ‘calm down’ about Greta Gerwig

On my desktop is an unfinished essay, a file called Greta Gerwig Won’t Win. I’ve been trying to write about Gerwig for some time, but I only started this version recently – post-Golden Globes, Oscars rumours simmering. I thought Gerwig would be nominated for directing but have no chance of...
Latest entries
Locked-room mysteries

Locked-room mysteries

Back in the day, a ‘locked-room mystery’ meant exactly that – a murder behind not only closed, but locked doors, ostensibly impossible to commit, and thus a mechanical conundrum to unpick. Think Gaston Leroux’s Le mystère de la chambre jaune (1907), or even Arthur Conan Doyle’s personal favourite of all his Sherlock Holmes stories, ‘The Adventure...
At the museum

At the museum

The glass door slid open without a hitch. That was only natural, the woman realized. They were automatic doors. She glanced around the main entrance. The building was immaculate, and looked to have been designed with considerable attention to architectural aesthetics. It reminded her of a hospital. Whiteness and curves. She wondered whether people associated...
Ami Rao: All life is here

Ami Rao: All life is here

Ami Rao’s Boundary Road is an inventively structured, deftly observed and uncompromisingly raw snapshot of contemporary multicultural London in which two young passengers on the Number 13 bus from central to north London have fleeting encounter whilst lost in their own pasts. Aron is making a new start as an assistant in a suit shop,...
A fresh start

A fresh start

Dinah Glover arrived in Tokyo to take up residence in a block ambitiously named Maison du Parc. The building was surrounded by concrete and clad in more concrete, pink and stuccoed. It was long and squat, like the egg casing of a huge insect. Dinah had come on a work visa sponsored by Saitama Denki...
We and our cats

We and our cats

I am writing this now in my home in rural Ibaraki, just north of Tokyo, which I share with my husband and our three cats. We bought this old house ten years ago, did a major renovation on it, and moved in just over eight years ago. As we were moving in, one of our...
A summer night

A summer night

I WAS APPROACHING ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL from the Old Castle Stairs. Night had fallen, and the first stars were appearing in a clear sky. The chancel – a black silhouette of columns, flying buttresses and pinnacles – rose before me. The castle’s courtyard opened up to my left. The place was deserted and so quiet,...
Liminal spaces and impossible things

Liminal spaces and impossible things

I’ve been obsessed with and seduced by the notion of liminal space since childhood. It began with The Chronicles of Narnia. As an eight-year-old I devoured The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and, long after the story started to fade the obsession with wardrobes remained. My paternal grandmother lived in a large, spooky Victorian...
The sparks of an obsession

The sparks of an obsession

I WAS EIGHT WHEN I REALISED that stories were not simply magic; that they didn’t arrive into the world already formed. Like puppies or babies or films. Two months before that birthday, the very first non-Congress government had swept to power in India, and with it, the end of the Emergency which had suspended civil...
Connecting with lost souls

Connecting with lost souls

My third novel Hazardous Spirits is set in Edinburgh in 1923. The story follows Evelyn Hazard, whose husband Robert wakes up one day and announces that he can speak to the spirits of the dead. Like many strange tales, the idea for this novel originated during an unusual blind date. I arrived late to the...
Arianespace

Arianespace

IT’S THE LAST ONE IN THE VILLAGE. RUMOUR HAS IT she’s outlived most and chased away the rest, that’s how they talk about her in these parts, where her first name is all that’s needed: Ariane. According to the police report, she is ninety-two years old, and what I hope, as I park my car...
from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit

from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit

When I started writing the poems in Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit, it had been four years since my first IVF appointment. I wrote the collection over the following two years, not knowing what the end would be; I’d aimed to finish the book by winter 2022, realising I might be pregnant by then,...
A semblance of order

A semblance of order

Ana Sampson’s latest poetry anthology Gods and Monsters, illustrated by Chris Riddell and with a foreword by Natalie Haynes, draws together classic and brand-new mythological poems from around the world. With retellings and reimaginings of Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Aztec, Japanese and Inuit myths, it includes poems from Neil Gaiman, W.B. Yeats, Kae Tempest,...