In the last two weeks, I've twice celebrated the power of inspirational writing. First, I dropped a line to the manager of Underfall Yard in Bristol, to thank them for the impetus behind my short story, A Shanty for Sawdust and Cotton, which won the Sense Creative Award 2010. I'd just heard that the boat I saw being built at the yard, the boat that stars in my story, had been launched. She goes by the name, Edith Gray. The yard manager said how good it was to know that their work inspired people, and to tell me that Edith Gray is named after his aunt, in her 90s, who is going blind. My story is about a deafblind boy. Blindness is also a theme in my novel. How strange that things worked out the way they did, and how apt.
Not so long ago, I was lucky enough to spend a morning in a favourite coffee shop in Bristol, interviewing novelist and short story author, Helen Dunmore. Part of this interview is now up at Fringe magazine, where Helen talks about her latest novel, The Betrayal, about historical fiction vs faction, and the need for vigilance in our dealings with the state. Helen's writing has long inspired me, and it was such a thrill to be able to ask her about her books and stories.