Amanda's Circus

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Poem on The Molotov Cocktail Shortlist

‘Close but no cigar’ is how the witty folk at The Molotov Cocktail describe their shortlist. Thank you to the Molotov folk. I’m proud, and marginally healthier even, without the cigar, and am glad they enjoyed the poem. Here is the link to the shortlist. They had their biggest entry yet, with submissions from the United […]

New Welsh Review Awards

 It seems I have two successes in the New Welsh Review Awards! Two! Happy days! Many thanks to Gwen Davies and her team. Extracts from my novella, ‘Carving Strangers’, set in 1950s South Africa, and a memoir I’ve written about Bob’s childhood in South Africa will be published later this year. It has come as […]

Poem in The Woven Tale Press

Many thanks to Sandra Tyler at Woven Tale. I’m thrilled that my poem is included in the latest issue of The Woven Tale Press. It’s a stunning fine art and literary magazine. A visual banquet. You can subscribe here, it’s free and fab.  I’ve picked out a few items in this issue that struck me […]

Two Poems for Prelude

I am absolutely delighted that two of my poems will be published in Prelude‘s print edition later this year. Prelude was established in 2014 and is based in New York, which is also extra exciting somehow. They publish contemporary experimental poetry and criticism. This is how Prelude describes itself: Prelude is a poetry journal concerned […]

Story Shortlisted in The London Magazine Competition

I’m thrilled to have a story on The London Magazine Short Story Competition shortlist. You can take a look at the list here. The London Magazine is a prestigious magazine and has been going for a very long time. Apparently, they published Wordsworth and Keats, Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad, Jack London, and P. G. Wodehouse, Thomas Hardy, […]

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

I suppose it is an experimental novel and I suppose it isn’t exactly a realist novel but somehow there is such an inevitability to the prose, structure and story that it defies labels such as these. Just as if I had turned on my music, ‘Solar Bones’ by Mike McCormack jolted me straight into its […]

3:AM Magazine – my story goes live

It is fantastic to have a story in 3:AM. My piece, ‘Three Girls Sing a Sutartine’ is now published. Many thanks to Hestia and the wonderful 3:AM folk for producing such a fascinating magazine – it’s full of challenge and discovery. Here is the link if you’d like a short read. The piece is accompanied […]

Poetry Success in the Magma / Winchester Poetry Festival Pop-up Competition

I have a poem on the Magma website. Click on the link if you’d like to read it. How surprised was I when, as I was casually sitting at a table at Loose Muse, Joan McGavin came over and told me my ‘Dear John’ poem had won third place in the festival pop-up competition run […]

Story and Poem Shortlisted for Paragram Paradox Prize

  Absolutely delighted to have a poem and a flash shortlisted for the Paragram Paradox Prize. Many thanks to them. Such great news! The list is here if you want to check it out. I’ve been working really hard on a new set of music theory books over the summer holidays and I can’t tell […]

Madam Tulip at Visual Verse

I’ve been thinking about taking up the Visual Verse challenge for a few months and I finally got round to it. My poem ‘Madam Tulip’, inspired by August’s summery image, is now published on their website. Every month they produce a picture, and you’re challenged to write a short piece about anything that the image […]

Peculiar Story up at Flashflood

My flash fiction piece is up at Flashflood. I wrote E.X.O.C.E.T. a couple of days before National Flash Fiction Day at a workshop given by the organiser and all-round excellent chap, Calum Kerr, and wonderful novelist, Claire Fuller. Calum suggested I send it in, which was decent of him. It’s a weird little piece. Click […]

The Laundry at Spelk

  ‘The Laundry’ is up at the wonderful Spelk website. This little story was written as part of the 10 Days Chalk project when I was trying to write a piece everyday, usually late at night. It’s surprising how the day’s dregs cough up oddities.  It’s here if you’d like to read it. When I decided […]

Loose Muse, Rough Diamonds and Rudeness

I’ve been reading my very short stories and poetry at the wonderful Loose Muse, run by the equally fab Sue Wrinch at Winchester’s Discovery Centre, for around a year now. It has been an eye-opening experience, one for which I am immensely grateful. The event is held monthly and includes readings and talks by established […]

Pieces of Eight at Bampton

Ten poems of mine have been on display at a gallery in Oxfordshire. A few months ago artist, Lucy Ash, and I agreed that I’d send her some poems. It always surprises me how paintings can trigger a poem or story, especially abstract paintings. It’s some sort of creative friction. Like mixing nutmeg and balsamic […]

An Interview with Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days is published by Fig Tree / Penguin in the UK and won the 2015 Desmond Elliott prize. Claire is also an expert writer of flash fiction. For 10 Days 2015 she has written ‘Chalk Mountains’ which can be viewed at Winchester’s Discovery Centre which will also host a […]

Chalk Trilogy and Winchester Cathedral

    My story has been on display at Winchester Cathedral and I, along with other members of the Taverners writers group, have been involved in readings, workshops and interviews as a part of the 10 Days Chalk project. At the time of writing, my ‘Girl in a Borrowed Cloak’, has just been deinstalled from […]

Paul Davies – The Interview

  Paul Davies writes prose and poetry. His literary agent is awaiting the completion of his second novel but it is his poetry that will form part of 10 Days 2015. Here is an extract from one of Paul’s novels: ‘Lawrence, if you can tear yourself away, I’m in the Nightingale wing.’ What was the […]

Talking to Lucy Ash

  Lucy Ash’s latest piece for Winchester Cathedral, as part of 10 Days 2015, is a triptych that examines the three components of chalk: carbon, oxygen and calcium. I’m thrilled that Lucy has taken time out of her busy schedule to talk about her work.   Amanda: Lucy, I find your paintings draw me in. […]

Richard Stillman – The Interview

Richard Stillman writes poetry and novels. One of his poems will feature as part of 10 Days Chalk. Richard is currently working on a poetry collection about the Czech Republic. Many thanks to Richard for giving us a sneak preview of two brilliant poems from this collection.       The supermarket squatted like a […]

Talking to Louise Taylor

  Louise Taylor writes fiction – short stories and novels, and travel articles and poetry. Her poetry will be part of 10 Days 2015. He waits by the side gate, the one that’s beneath the head gardener’s dignity. A paper bag holding the remnants of sixpence’s-worth of monkey nuts is scrunched into his pocket and rests warmly […]

Meeting Consuelo Simpson

Over the next weeks, I’m hoping to interview some of the writers and artists involved in 10 Days 2015 (if they’ll put up with me). Yesterday, I was lucky enough to visit artist, Consuelo Simpson, in her Hampshire studio. Consuelo is inspired by this quote from The Old Ways ‘A chalky mysticism established itself, a belief that […]

Chalk Story – 10 Days 2015

Since I’ve become part of the arts project 10 Days 2015 Chalk, I’ve been trying to write some stories on the theme of Chalk. On the basis that you get out what you put in, I decided to throw myself at it. Themes can be tricky, I find. I researched, obviously. I now know a […]

The Harp, the Thorn Tree, and a Guitar

  Names are tricky, aren’t they. In my house there’s a guitar named Sadie, as is the character in my story. When Elaine Chiew asked me about ‘The Harp and the Thorn Tree’, in Unthology 7, I thought of lots of other things but not about the character’s name. When someone asks you questions, it […]

Story in Unthology 7, the Venice Biennale 2015 and Norwich.

My story, ‘The Harp and the Thorn Tree’, has been published in Unthology 7 along with the work of a dozen other writers. It’s a brilliantly diverse collection of stories that confronts contemporary life and provokes a dialogue. I’ve been thinking about contemporary fiction, contemporary music and contemporary art. Take contemporary classical music for example. […]

The Stories of Simon Van Booy

My review of Simon Van Booy’s wonderful short story collection ‘Love Begins in Winter’ is online at Thresholds here. It’s always worth investigating the Thresholds site because you’re bound to discover insightful short story advice or something to read that you hadn’t thought of. ‘Love Begins in Winter’ is a collection of love stories. I […]

About writing, trickery and a little music