Are stories addictive?: Finland’s mysterious‘Storyteller’

September 2016/ True crime / reading time: 14 minutes (3460 words)

The librarian saw the outsider approach Ulla out of nowhere and ask her a question. The outsider asked Ulla if she wanted to hear a story. She said yes. Two months later Ulla was dead.

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Could Enid Blyton’s Famous Five outwit modern parenting?

August 2016/ literary parody /reading time: 15 minutes (3750 words)

After last month’s essay on reading Stephen King’s Carrie as an 11 year old, this month’s longform blog about Enid Blyton is not an obvious follow up, except in the sense that it’s also about parenting and children’s books. In this blog I ask, what would Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books would be like if they were comprehensively revised to reflect contemporary, risk-averse, protective, middle-class parenting? And what beer would George drink if she couldn’t get her hands on ginger beer?

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4 reasons not to read Stephen King at 11 years old (and 2 reasons I’m glad I did)

July 2016 /Essay – Memoir / Reading time: 7 minutes (1760 words)

  • 1985

I am in a second hand bookshop in Dublin near my cousin’s house. The lurid cover of Stephen King’s first novel catches my eye. I’ve heard about it. It’s meant to be the most terrifying book ever written. I’ve got to have it. I pay the princely sum of 75 pence and it’s mine. I’m 11 years old.

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I support #CoverKidsBooks because kids books supported me

June 2016 / Memoir – essay / Reading time: 5 minutes (1200 words)

I support the #Coverkidsbooks campaign. It’s not only out of self interest – I am after all a children’s fiction writer aspiring for publication – or because I love reading children’s fiction or because I want help finding books for my own children. I support it  because finding the right kids books helped me through some difficulties in my childhood. Continue reading