Call the Poor – Part 2

An 'Out of the Smoke' Short Story Part 2 Read Part 1 here. The group trudged through the darkened streets, heads bent low against a freezing wind that seemed to have come straight from the pole. Robert kept half an eye on Clara, but he soon realised he need not have worried about her: Tosher... Continue Reading →

Call the Poor – Part 1

An 'Out of the Smoke' Short Story Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a... Continue Reading →

The Museum of Everything

What makes the perfect classroom? Ask twenty different teachers and they will give you twenty different answers. Some will prioritise seating; others, resources; my favourite kind of teacher will favour a well-stocked class library (of course!). But when it comes right down to it, all their answers will point in the same direction: the perfect... Continue Reading →

Expectation vs Reality

I was recently invited to write a short article for the book blogging website, 'Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books', about my experiences debuting in a global pandemic. It's been a long and very interesting year, and it was nice to have a chance to reflect on the process. Here's the first couple of paragraphs. You can... Continue Reading →

Lord Shaftesbury: A Biography

Lord Shaftesbury was born Anthony Ashley Cooper in 1801. His father was Cropley Ashley Cooper, the Sixth Earl of Shaftesbury, and Anthony's childhood was one of "great severity, moral and physical." Anthony’s parents spent their time and money on themselves, and their children were often hungry and cold, left in the care of the servants... Continue Reading →

Finding the Gaps

Writing historical fiction is a strange process. You might suppose (as I did) that it’s a fairly boring task, with no room for inspiration. These people lived and died, their lives are a matter of record, and all there is to do is to recount those lives in so many words and try to be... Continue Reading →

‘Out of the Smoke’ – Extract

This is the beginning of my latest novel, released in October 2020 and available to order now. It was inspired by the life and work of the Victorian MP and philanthropist Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. The book follows eleven-year-old Billy, a chimney sweep (or 'climbing boy' as they were known) as... Continue Reading →

Writing Update

I've just come back to this website after a couple of years away. After finding the right keys and shoving the door open past the pile of letters on the mat, I've begun blowing away the cobwebs and taking off the dust-sheets, and I've realised that a lot has happened in the intervening time. Endever... Continue Reading →

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