‘Oculus’, my story about women’s rights, set in Iran and India, is now a semifinalist in this year’s competition. That puts it in the top 4%-5% of all entrants. It’s won several badges of commendation along the way, and appears on Coverfly’s Red List as among the best works on its site. I’m hoping the current political situation will enable people to see its relevance.
‘If you don’t accept him’ – your father comes to the point – ‘someone else will. He’s looking for a wife and it’s obvious he won’t have to wait for long.’ There’s some slight nuance in your father’s tone that signals menace. It suggests that overnight he’s become your opponent instead of your friend.
‘One Million People, Full Stop’ makes it to the quarterfinals of this year’s competition. My play is based on the short stories and vignettes of the important Indo/Pak writer, Manto. Its subject is the collective insanity caused by the Partition of India. The drama of the time is framed by a discourse the relationship between morality and freedom of speech. Manto’s musings retain their relevance in today’s ‘cancel culture’, and take on tragic significance with the assault on Salman Rushdie. The play was written at the request of Jatinder Verma, former Artictic Director at Tara Arts, South West London. It now needs a home.
MAN w. SWORD Dildo, is it? Ah’m sick to death of the likes of you thinkin’ you’re better than the likes of me. Fuckin’ cow canoodler. I’m gonnae stick it to ye right the now.
SECOND MAN Nuckleheid! Eejit! I’m the local tailor, fer fuck’s sake.
MAN w. SWORD Don’t come it with me, piss tippler. I’d know your sort anywhere.
SECOND MAN I’m tellin’ ye.
MAN w. SWORD Bollocks!
He lunges at the second man, and slashes him neck to navel. The injured man drops down dead. Man with Sword then slices open the dead man’s pyjama string, and peers at the victim’s nether regions.
Oopsie daisy! Wee mishtake!
 Traditionally, a Muslim occupation.
‘Hand to Hand, Shoulder to Shoulder’, a novel about the experiences of the Air India flight 101 generation, makes it to the final 8% of this prestigious competition.
My story, set in Iran and India about a woman losing her sense of autonomy, and the desperate measures she takes to try and get it back, is a declared quarter-finalist in this year’s ScreenCraft Cinematic short story competition. Whey hey!
An interview with Joe Bedford, writer, for his Arts Council-funded project about the role that research plays in the writing process. ‘I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to authenticity… You can be sure if you get these things wrong, some other nerd will point it out.’
‘She introduces us to real people in a tough working-class community who negotiate life with humour and tolerance, despite the shocking abuses that sometimes occur. I want to read more.’ – Emma Storr
‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’ arrives in audio form today. Listen to the actor Hannah Wood bring all the characters to sparkling life. Arts Council funded. First ever audiobook produced by Fly on the Wall Press. Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for her initiative. @fly_press.
To access it, follow the link:
Join Fly on the Wall Press for the launch of my new collection of short stories, on 2nd December. Sign up here with Eventbrite:
To mark 150 years of Durham Miners’ Gala, the film of ‘Black Boy Winning’, with Susan Jameson and James Bolam as the narrators, goes live on the Durham Miners’ Gala website. Set in a pit village in the North East of England, the story focuses on the lives of a coal miner, Ned, and his young son, Joe. Both long for freedom: Ned from his life underground, and Joe, from his father’s anger. The chances of either of them fulfilling their dream seem remote. Until events take a drastic turn… Watch here. (Illustration courtesy Norman Cornish estate):
‘It’s a collection whose many seams are as abundant with gold as they are of coal… Swinney’s protagonists have the depth and fleshiness that D.H. Lawrence, writing about similar communities around his native Nottingham, struggled to imbue.’ – Desmond Bullen