Amanda's Circus

Archive for Stories

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 […]

I’ve just finished ‘Before the Fall’ by Juliet West

 I’ve had to double-check myself whilst I’ve been reading this book because one sunny day I found myself shouting at my family: “Fetch the fly spray! We don’t want no flies in here.” They gave me those long frowns – what’s she playing at now, laughed to each other and of course, carried on with […]

Lakeview Journal has published my story

I am honoured that my story ‘A Pylon, a Dress and the Rattle of Reeds’ is now live at Lakeview Journal here. It is a fantastic literary magazine packed with stories, poetry and art. The magazine is international but based in India so I am doubly honoured to be included. It is truly wonderful to read the stories […]

Good News from Venice

I was in Venice trogging around the Biennale (this takes days and is as tough on your creative energy reserves as it is on your feet, in case you were thinking me an escapist slacker); my submissions were well into the dark, back cellars of my mind. Obviously Venice itself takes up a great deal of one’s consciousness and the […]

The Cellist and the Wolves is published!

  Great news, my story ‘The Cellist and the Wolves’ is going to be published  online and print.  It is a story about a woman protecting her life and her child from the predatory world. I am thrilled that The Lampeter Review has taken one of my stores. They publish some marvellous work as can be […]

2013 Reading: the books so far…

Here is a list of my current reading and in case you’d like to try any of them, I’ve rated them as follows: ***** Brilliantly written, innovative, I was intrigued and couldn’t put it down **** Brilliantly written, I was intrigued *** Interesting and well-written **Interesting but it was a struggle to finish it *I couldn’t finish […]

Alzheimer’s story at Literary Mama

‘A Winding Silver Path’ was ‘shortlisted’ (‘longlisted’ really) for the Asham Award but renamed and rewritten. It is a story about a family living with a mother/grandmother whose identity is slowly being eroded by Alzheimer’s. It shows their best efforts: how they try to help and try to cope but, in spite of their altruism and good intentions, […]

2nd Place in Yellow Room

I returned from a trip to Ghent to discover that my story, ‘Sleeping with Bees’ gained 2nd place in The Yellow Room’s 1500 word Autumn Short Story Competition. What good news! I’ve bought a bottle of cherry brandy to celebrate. Salut! Sophie Duffy, the judge, said that the story was very well written but that she […]

Useful Writing Sites

A great collection of travel writing sites that pay for work. Definitely worth looking into. Travel Writing. If you’re looking for a lit mag that might suit your work, you might take a look at the calls for submissions published by New Pages. Plenty of obscure names but it is kept very up-to-date. The Guardian has […]

A Girl and Her Skin is published. Hurray!

  Great news! My story ‘A Girl and Her Skin’ has been accepted by Female First and is live here:  It is a story that I’ve been tinkering with for some time and I’m thrilled it has found a home on such a lively site. It’s a very unusual story. Editor, Lucy Watson, said she […]

Story on Mslexia Shortlist

I am thrilled that I have a story on the 2012 Mslexia Short Story Competition shortlist from over 2,000 entries. Tessa Hadley, the judge, found herself leaning towards stories that were ‘centered in one place, in one moment’; a preference that this particular story certainly did not conform to (most of the dramatic action is in flashback) but I thought it a risk worth […]

Half Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan

I’ve just finished ‘Half Blood Blues’ by Esi Edugyan Edugyan’s second novel is not only a gripping page-turner but beautifully written. Narrated by Sid Griffiths, a Baltimore jazz musician living in Nazi Berlin in 1939, the voice thrums like his deep string bass in flawless syncopated rhythms. The novel begins in Paris in 1940. Listen […]

St Petersburg – city of stories

I have just returned from chilly St Petersburg with its frozen canals, brilliant sunshine, sudden snowstorms, and the vast Neva River. I’ve always wanted to visit partly because I am fascinated by Russian history but mostly because I’ve always loved Russian literature and music. I’m thinking here of Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Tolstoy , Turgenev, Nabokov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Bulgakov, Shostakovich, […]

The Chair is published

‘The Chair’ was ‘shortlisted’ for the Asham Award but has remained unpublished until now. I am really pleased that it will appear in the debut issue of Cigale Literary Magazine. It is the story of a chance meeting between two people who would not normally expect to connect, and about making choices; about how we never […]

Three Dark Steps and the Parrot is published

Read my story ‘Three Dark Steps and the Parrot’ in the wonderful Medulla Review. It is about a woman whose reality is gradually being eroded and she finds herself changing into a parrot. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s the link:

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

There Once Was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby This is a marvellous collection of short stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. To find out my reaction to these surreal fables, read my article on the experience below: From the moment I began the first story, I was compelled to read with the same […]


March 12th 2013: Had a great time at Liars’ League in London. The brilliant actor, Carrie Cohen, gave her all to ‘The Glorious Dolores’ . Free drinks too! What more could one wish for. March 1st 2013: Great news!! Liars’ League have accepted my story, ‘The Glorious Dolores’. It’s to be performed on March 12th […]

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

I’ve just finished – There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby From the moment I began the first story, I was compelled to read with the same desperate energy that drives Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s characters to survive. These are fantastical stories, apocalyptic urban folk tales, sinister, surreal. This is optimism in […]

I’ve just finished…The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Dorset landscape has a mystical and deeply private beauty; there is a sense that things are going on, and have been doing so for many centuries, hidden things that are too private to talk about. Hardy evokes this in his writing. I’ve just finished reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy.  Casterbridge is, of […]

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl – a quiet voice talking

Earlier this year, the British government warned us that Britain was soon likely to become an offshore outlet for China, or something similarly outrageous. I had just finished reading Yiyun Li’s extraordinary collection of short stories, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl so China was on my mind. It was a fortuitous coincidence to discover a recording on […]


I am going to post work in progress and story beginnings here…

About writing, trickery and a little music