Academic Work

Ekphrasis in Still Life with Black Birds: Finding a new space – art and prose in collaboration

This paper focuses on a site-specific collaboration between the author and the Cotswold artist, Richard Kenton Webb: Still Life with Black Birds at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester. The collaborative project was formed of a series of black and white linocuts and a short story, both of which were displayed together in the Museum’s dedicated gallery space during September 2014. The paper considers the borderline between collaboration and ekphrasis in terms of the more traditional definition of ekphrasis associated with poetry, which is concerned with the poetic description of a work of art. The paper will consider a new “intermedial” space where the outcome of ekphrasis and collaboration, an exhibition of images and texts as well as a printed book, comes directly out of the dialogic process which precedes it – the “intermedial” space being the dialogue between the two art forms. It will also consider the way ekphrasis arising out of collaboration stimulates consciousness through the way words work in dialogue with the artwork.

Available to download

William Cowper’s Summer House

As part of Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE) the virtual exhibition of texts, objects, and places from the Romantic period, a contribution from the Cowper & Newton Museum in Olney.

The piece can be viewed in full at

Talking to the Dead – the Voice of the Victim in Crime Fiction

This is a paper that considers Margaret Atwood’s proposition that ‘Perhaps all writing is motivated, deep down, by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead’. In particular, it considers this proposition for the writer of crime fiction and explores how powerful specific aspects of the narrative voice can be for writers in this genre. Drawing on my own experience of writing crime fiction, as well as that of other practitioners, it discusses how insistent the voices of the dead can be in the solving of a fictional crime.

Available at Taylor & Francis

‘How the listener was lured in’

(2009) in The Short Story (ed. Cox, Ailsa)  Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Conference Papers

  • ‘Talk to me of love’ (November 2017) National Association of Writers in Education, York
  • ‘Designing an online MA’ (November 2017) Panel discussion to National Association of Writers in Education, York
  • ‘Sun, sea and fairgrounds: the landscapes of crime fiction’ (July 2017), English Shared Futures Conference, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • ‘The insistent voices of the dead’ (March 2017) Contemporary Cultures of Writing Spring Seminars series, Institute of English Studies, University of London
  • ‘Still Life with Blackbirds – a collaboration between art and fiction’ (November 2016) with Richard Kenton Webb, National Association of Writers in Education, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • ‘Nailing the Thought Down’ (November 2015) Contemporary Cultures of Writing Autumn Seminar series, Institute of English Studies, University of London.
  • ‘Talking to the Dead’ (July 2012) Great Writing Conference, London: Imperial College