My working life began amid thick mud and driving rain in a field near Newcastle, and I went on to spend about four years – often in similarly challenging conditions – digging ponds, planting trees, and building drystone walls for a national conservation charity. This work also took me to Nottinghamshire, teaching practical skills to the long-term unemployed, before moving to London to become a journalist.
My first love, though, is Literature, and in 1998 I did an MPhil in Modern Poetry at Stirling University. There followed spells of teaching at Adult Education institutions, including Birkbeck, University of London, where I did a PhD in Contemporary American Elegy. Most recently, I taught Literature and Creative Writing for Open Age, a charity in West London.
I try to nurture my own creativity by spending time in writing groups and going to readings in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I love walking up steep hills and mountains, but my knees are not so happy about this. I can also talk for hours on end about football if anyone has the stamina to listen.
I joined Ecas in September 2018 as the Reading & Writing group leader.