The story behind ‘The Ministry Man’

I grew up in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, where the government pursued and actively encouraged intolerance and hostility towards same-sex attraction. A culmination of the Tories’ damaging agenda was Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which forbade local authorities from promoting homosexuality, or from teaching its acceptability in maintained schools. The clause wasn’t repealed until 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England and Wales. In such an environment, sexual attraction is so stigmatised that it can feel ‘wrong’ and even dangerous. Imagine something as simple and innocent as a teenage crush being laced with fear. There may be no role … Continue reading The story behind ‘The Ministry Man’

The story behind ‘Their Cruel Routines’

There are two mother-son relationships within ‘Their Cruel Routines’, the opening story in Broken Rules and Other Stories: that between the fictional mother and her adult son, and that between my own mother and myself. The latter was the spark or inspiration for the story. A few years ago, I went to stay with my mother at her house in the north of England to help look after her while she was unwell. I would be there for some months, so I set up a work station at the kitchen table, where I was able to write each day. It … Continue reading The story behind ‘Their Cruel Routines’

Fisher Girls | Island

One of my short stories is published in Island today. You can read ‘Fisher Girls’ here. I hope you like it. While you’re there, why not check out some of the other content. Since our beginnings in 1979 (as The Tasmanian Review), Island’s mission has remained the same: to produce a magazine with a national vision and audience that supports new, emerging and established writers and artists, and to bring works of excellence and variety to the reading public throughout Australia and overseas. Island Magazine Happy reading! Continue reading Fisher Girls | Island

Colours

When he’s nostalgic, it’s pale blue like seaside cottages. Circling seagulls in morning harbours, old-fashioned cream cakes, the damp wood of rickety beach-huts. Ease is liquid green, like late summer afternoons. The lazy buzz of insects in settled heat, the sweet anticipation of the evening ahead. Anxious is the colour of commuters in a cold rush of urgency. It’s frantic, the sound of doors closing on a crowded train, the smells and tastes and harsh fabrics of commerce. Continue reading Colours