The Animals paperback is out June 4th in the UK – here’s the cover! Thanks, Canongate. I think we’ve all been there…

Animals pb

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In case you missed it, I wrote this piece about my obsession with motorhomes for last Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine…



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Curious Tales’ second collection of modern ghost stories, Poor Souls’ Light, is back from the printers. Here’s the cover: PSL cover

Inside, you’ll find seven stories by me, Jenn Ashworth, Tom Fletcher, Richard Hirst, Alison Moore, M. John Harrison and Johnny Mains. Fagsmoke, pylons, barges and evacuees all play a part. The book is fully – and stunningly – illustrated by Beth Ward. It’s a beautifully printed and bound, limited-edition run of 500 (no ebook) and every copy will be signed and posted out with care and love. We’re dead proud of it. You can buy it here – and many thanks if you do. If you’d like to hear the stories live, we’re doing a mini tour across the North this December and January. Come along and have a mulled wine and good scare. We’ll also be chatting at the events about the process of self-publishing and working together as a collective. You can find more details about the events here. The launch is at the John Rylands Library in Manchester on Thursday 18th. Hope to see you.

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From 10-15th November I’m writer-in-residence at the super new refurbed Manchester Central Library as part of Chaos to Order, a series of events curated by the band Everything Everything. Here’s the trailer:

Every day that week I’ll be reading Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems in the cafe at lunchtime between 12.30-1.30. Come along to listen and/or bring your own poems to read. Then on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll be in the archives from 5-6ish to chat to anyone who has any questions about their writing – I’ll try my best to be useful. I’m also organising an event on Wednesday 12th November at 6.30pm – Chaos and Shape – where four authors will talk about their work in the context of the theme ‘Chaos to Order’. I’ll going to read something brand new: an extract from my third novel. The other authors reading will be Chris Killen, Zoe Lambert and Kerry Wilkinson (l-r, below).


The event will be hosted by Chaos to Order co-writer-in-residence Greg Thorpe (below). Greg is a Manchester-based writer, DJ, promoter and event organiser. He has worked with Cornerhouse, Islington Mill, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Evening News, Creative Tourist and others. He runs two club nights and is a graduate of the University of Manchester and of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.


You can find out more about the event here. Tickets are free but please click on the link to book so that we have an idea of numbers. Thanks!

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images-1 Here’s a Q&A over on the Manchester Literature Festival blog for an event I’m doing at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on Friday October 10th. Do come if you’re around. I’m also proud to be judging the Blog North Awards 2014 earlier that week. Manchester, I miss you and I’m looking forward to spending some time with you. Especially YOU.

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Photo Back in April Animals was optioned as a film by the very brilliant producer Sarah Brocklehurst, who was nominated for a BAFTA in 2012 for Black Pond (a clever, dark, absurd British comedy) and in 2014 was named a Screen International “Star of Tomorrow”. She’s hot stuff. Here we are being silly in a photobooth. Since then, Sarah and I have been working to get funding so that I can write the screenplay. The British Film Institute has a department called Creative England, which supports first-time screenwriters, and they’ve just awarded us funding, so we can go ahead. Hooray! Thanks, BFI. This week I start writing the treatment. So here goes…


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Plans are now well underway for the second volume of Curious Tales. Last year there were six of us; this year there will be eight: seven writers and one artist, our very own Beth Ward again, who did such a beautiful job of the illustrations for the first book (as you’ll see above). What else can I tell you? There will be a set of strange and unsettling ghost stories published in a fancy anthology this winter. There will be a series of events (some with mulled wine, some with costumes – well, I’ve got a new Victorian-ish dress, if you drink enough mulled wine and squint it’ll be wraithlike), starting in early December, in libraries and bookshops across the country. The two special guest writers for 2014 are very special indeed. Meantime watch this space. And THIS space. If you like.

The motley, ghostly crew: Beth Ward, Tom Fletcher, me, Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Richard Hirst

Who ya gonna call? The Curious Crew, L-R: Beth Ward, Tom Fletcher, me, Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Richard Hirst

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The German edition of Animals is published this week by the v cool Metrolit:


It’s a bit gamine, no? And a bit Carrie. I love it.

The book came out last month in Canada with HarperCollins:

HC Canada

I love these punk-ass bitches. Love them with all my pathetic, wuss-ass heart.


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I wrote this piece for the Waterstone’s blog about Animals, social disobedience, and an event I’m doing on Thursday evening at Waterstone’s Piccadilly with Zoe Pilger and Helen Walsh. Come!

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I did a Shelfie for the Indy mag. You’ll see from this how absolutely excellent I am with technology and things like legible screen-grabs. Hi.



June 19, 2014 · 7:54 pm