I’m the writer of 3 published novels, My Name is Denise Forrester (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005), The Good Death (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007) and most recently, Indecent Acts (Freight, 2014). I was born and still live in Glasgow, though I’ve also lived in England, Spain (twice), Hungary and Malaysia. I’m often afflicted with wanderlust and a desire to live in (and out) of other cultures, languages and peoples. I like to travel, but prefer to immerse myself within another culture if at all possible. I am known for novels, I guess, though I’m also a poet and have two collections forthcoming in 2015, The Dog in the Disco, and a collection of erotic/pornographic haiku, Why don’t you write me a love poem? the former in collaboration with Slovak publisher Dive Buki and Cargo in Slovak and English and the latter through Cargo. In fiction, I write about all sorts of things; families, relationships, growing up, repression, paranoia and so on and I suppose I’m interested in people forced to extremes, outsiders, loners on the edge of society in one way or another, but I like to think there’s always humour in there too. In poetry, I write about the same sorts of things, but also other stuff: poetry seems to access a different area of the brain. I’m quite new to poetry too – I only began writing it a few years ago, when previously I had little interest in it, but after reading at the same event with Graham Fulton I had a road-to-Damascus conversion: his reading was so brilliant, funny and accessible that I began thinking ‘I want to do that’. So I went home and wrote my first poem that same night and never looked back. So blame Graham Fulton.
About writer's work
I’ve twice won a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Grant and my thematic terrain is usually death, ageing, paranoia, growing up, repression, sexuality, the marginalised, outsiders and language itself. I’m interested in ideas of language and power, representation, memory and different ways of loving, and of who gets to be the winners and who the losers in our far-from-perfect society. I’m also interested in the crossroads between science and art. I am currently writing a fourth novel, William John Jackie for Short, a collection of poems about drinking, another haiku collection on teenage sexuality, and a haiku-novel of sorts about a Japanese sexual psychologist who finds himself unable to help his clients as a result of his own marriage difficulties and impotence. Finally, I’m writing a series of completely surreal and absurd microfictions about an Australian organ transplantation business. Naturally, it is a comedy. I’ve never been to Australia.
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Current events and projects
I’m available to do live poetry or fiction readings and events, fiction and novel-writing workshops and residencies. I’m interested in workshops on novel-structures, plotting and thematically open to any ideas that people bring to the table.
I’m available to do workshops for beginners or advanced writers in any genre, or writing workshops for those with literacy difficulties, young offenders, ex-prisoners, people with substance abuse issues, asylum seekers, lone parents, sex workers, carers, the elderly or those with disabilities. I am happy to work with older teens in schools, too.
Recently, I’ve been working with a visual artist on illustrations and cartoons of my poetry, so I’m very interested in collaborative writing between genres: music & literature; art; science; graphic novels; anti-novels and so on. I’m also involved in a poetry project to produce poetic/visual/ audio responses to the solar flare observations of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) satellite Hinode, with writer Kate Tough.