A Top Ten, A Book Club, And What I Think Beautiful Is

It’s been a busy online week for me, which is a bit of a change. The week before last I was back teaching at the BBC which was brilliant fun (and it’s always nice to be asked back). Look! Elmo this time!

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And last Tuesday was the last session with the lovely junior writers I’ve been working with at Bollington Library. And that means there’s only one more place I need to be to teach before I break for the holidays and, hopefully, sleep for all of them.

And, of course, there was all the judging for the 150 Words comp – winners, runners-up: your prizes are in the post.

A little while ago I was interviewed by the brilliant Susan Tepper for Black Heart magazine. Read it all here. I really liked that one – it felt very much like me talking, and not only about myself, for a change.

“- beautiful is different for every single person. I think it’s something, anything, that can be celebrated, that causes us to stop and appreciate it, or just give it an extra second’s thought. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect. And it can be nothing more complicated than a moment.

So, what do I think of when I think of beautiful? I think I think of life, of nature. The depth of a sunset. The potential of a new life. That one perfect smile shared with a stranger. A hummingbird.”

The equally brilliant Jane Davis also interviewed me for her book club, which I enjoyed an awful lot too.

“I don’t have any qualifications as far as writing goes (which is weird as I spend an awful lot of time teaching it). I don’t think everyone needs formal training. I believe people need a good story and the confidence to tell it their way without being embarrassed by themselves or their own voice. Practise helps a lot too, of course.”

And Beautiful Trees has made this Top Ten Fiction Books of The Year list over at the splendid Book Chase. All of which makes me very happy indeed. As I said to my publisher the other day: ‘We’ve made something beautiful and people like it’ and that, to be honest, is all you can ask for.

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