Please scroll down for details of Alison’s publication news, upcoming talks, readings and short courses.
Winter 2019: Alison will be co-tutoring ‘Bring Your Story to Life’, a 5-day residential course in fiction-writing, with Tim Pears (plus guest Amanda Craig) for the Arvon Foundation, at its Totleigh Barton Centre in rural Devon. Further details of the course can be found here.
Autumn 2019: Alison will be leading a week-long fiction-writing seminar/workshop for Grapevine Experience – in a Tuscan vineyard – from Sept. 1 – 7, 2019. Participants with all levels of writing experience are welcome. Further details can be found here.
Spring 2019: Alison will be co-tutoring ‘Fiction: Technique and Tenacity’, a 5-day residential course in fiction-writing, with Adam Foulds (plus guest Tor Udall) for the Arvon Foundation, at its Hurst Centre in rural Shropshire. Note: this course is half-price for young writers aged 18-25 and writers receiving state benefits. Details of the course can be found here.
ORLANDO: A BIOGRAPHY BY VIRGINIA WOOLF
Nine hour reading
THURSDAY 11 OCT 2018
12:00 PM start
AT THE HAY BARN, CHARLESTON
Join us for a day of festivity as we mark 90 years to the day since
Orlando: A Biography was first published.
Enjoy the text in its entirety – performed by actors, writers, artists and community readers. Alison will be reading at a point between 6pm and 7pm.
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
AS Byatt with Alison MacLeod
SUNDAY 30 SEPT 2018 2:00PM
PRESENTATION OF THE CHARLESTON-BEDE’S AWARD FOR A LIFETIME’S EXCELLENCE IN SHORT FICTION TO AS BYATT
We are delighted to announce that Dame Antonia Byatt is the sixth recipient of the only award to recognise long-standing creativity and achievement in the short story genre.
AS Byatt is internationally renowned for her novels, including Possession and The Children’s Book, as well as her short story collections: Sugar & Other Stories, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, The Little Black Book of Stories and The Matisse Stories. Her many awards include the Booker Prize and the Erasmus Prize and her writing is translated into thirty languages. She is also a distinguished critic and essayist.
Alison MacLeod, Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester, short story writer and novelist, will deliver an appreciation of AS Byatt’s work.
BBC Radio 4, FRIDAY, JUNE 30th 2018
3.45-4.00 pm and repeated SUNDAY, JULY 1st 12.30-12.48 am
and on BBC IPlayer, see ‘Short Story Podcasts’
new short story, ‘The Gleaning’
Read by Tristan Sturrock
Producer: Elizabeth Allard
Announced June 2018:
Bringing your fiction to life
How do you connect the bits and pieces of a writing draft into a novel that takes life? How can you create three-dimensional characters while sustaining the narrative momentum that makes your story ‘go’? How does a novelist hone the style, imagery and rhythm of his or her prose? Here, you’ll work with two experienced novelists to discover the ‘deep currents’ of your novel. You’ll extend and focus your vision of the story you want to tell. Participants are invited to submit up to 1,000 words of a work-in-progress, to be sent to Totleigh Barton by June 30th.
GENRE: Fiction, Short Story & Tutored Retreat
This short story course is designed for intermediate to advanced writers. So how, in writing something so economic and honed, can you create an expansive experience for your reader? Writing a short story requires mastery of dozens of individual skills. On this retreat you will have independent time and space to focus on your writing, and, with the individual attention of two experienced tutors, you will discover the skills that make the difference between a good short story and a great one. Participants are invited to submit one or two stories, with a total submission length of no more than 2,000 words, to email@example.com by 8 October 2018.
Portrait: Eric Gill Dreaming
The artist, or the man?
For most of the twentieth century, Eric Gill was known for his sculptures and drawings, printmaking and the iconic typeface that bears his name. But in 1989, Fiona MacCarthy’s acclaimed biography of the artist – which included extensive research into Gill’s private journals – revealed another side, including an incestuous relationship with his sister and the sexual abuse of two of his three daughters.
Since then, it has been difficult for many to approach his art in its previous light.
The Ditchling Museum Of Art And Craft mounted a major retrospective, Eric Gill: The Body, which ran from April to September 2017. This short story by Alison MacLeod, emerged from her time as one of the writers-in-residence for the exhibition. The voices sequence in the story is inspired by visitors’ responses to the exhibition.
A work of creative non-fiction, Portrait: Eric Gill Dreaming imagines Gill in his house in Ditchling, asleep and dreaming about his work and life, and wondering whether or not they go together.
Which brings us back to the original question – the artist, or the man?
Alison MacLeod lives in Brighton. She was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011 and her stories, including the series Imagining Chekhov, have featured previously on Radio 4. Her novel Unexploded was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and was broadcast as a Book At Bedtime. Her latest collection of stories, All The Beloved Ghosts, was published in 2017. Alison is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.
Writer: Alison MacLeod
Reader: Indira Varma
Producer: Jeremy Osborne
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.
- Oct. 2017 Governor General’s Award for Fiction Shortlisting – Toronto
Following a huge response to a call for applicants to their Writer in Residence project, we are thrilled to announce that the successful applicants are authors Alison McLeod and Bethan Roberts. Both will provide different approaches to the project, which has been commissioned in response to the museum’s major, thought-provoking exhibition Eric Gill: The Body (28 April – 3 September 2017).
The exhibition asks visitors to consider whether their knowledge of Gill’s life impacts on their enjoyment of his depiction of the human figure. The two writers in residence will help to capture, interpret and respond to visitor’s thoughts on this exhibition and the challenging questions it poses.
Alison McLeod is a novelist and short story writer. Her most recent novel, Unexploded, was long-listed or the 2013 Man-Booker Prize for Fiction and was serialized on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’ and is currently optioned or film. In 2016, she was jointly awarded The Eccles British Library Writer’s Award, has appeared at numerous literary festivals, and has served as a judge on many award panels.
Bethan Roberts specializes in short fiction (winner of the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize and the RA Pin Drop Award), and drama for BBC Radio 4. She has also worked in television documentary and has taught Creative Writing at Chichester University and Goldsmiths College, London. Her latest novel, Mother Island, is the receipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize.
Nathaniel Hepburn, Director of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, commented “Art can help us to tackle difficult issues in new and engaging ways. This project will provide visitors with a different and potentially more accessible route into the key question of understanding how our knowledge of Gill’s private life affects our understanding and appreciation of his work.”
An early draft of a novel is a very different beast from a finished manuscript. How do you get from one to the other, and how do you create distance between yourself and your manuscript? How can you hone your sentences while also digging deeper to discover three-dimensional characters and a natural narrative drive? Here is your chance to work with an experienced editor and novelist. You’ll sharpen your writer’s senses; you’ll explore the ‘deep wiring’ of your novel; and you’ll relish the experience of coming closer to your own vision and voice.
Single room price: £760Tutor
Alison MacLeod’s second short story collection, All the Beloved Ghosts, will …Tutor
Juliette Mitchell is a writer, editor and teacher. She was for many years an e …Guest
Anna Kelly is a commissioning editor at Fourth Estate. Her list includes Joyce …Centre
STRANGE OFFSPRINGS WITH MARK HADDON, ALISON MACLEOD
& Catherine Taylor
THURSDAY 28 SEPT 2017 7:45PM
TICKETS: £10 – £12
The creativity of Bloomsbury has inspired many new works of art. Mark Haddon’s St Bride’s Bay, a tribute to Virginia Woolf, was commissioned for a special publication, Two Stories, celebrating this year’s 100th anniversary of the Hogarth Press. The second story is the first piece Virginia Woolf wrote for the Hogarth Press, ‘The Mark on the Wall’.
Alison MacLeod’s short story, included in her new collection, All the beloved ghosts, imagines Angelica Garnett, daughter of Vanessa Bell and child of Charleston, overcome by the past as she re-visits the house in its current incarnation: “Emotionally powerful… impeccably elegant, richly textured” (The Sunday Times).
Catherine Taylor is an arts journalist and former deputy director of English PEN and publisher of the Folio Society.
Supported by Rathfinny Wine Estate
Shuttle bus to/from Lewes train station and Charleston available for main events and workshops
Concessionary rate applies to students, seniors (over 65) and unemployed adults
WORKSHOP : WRITING FOR RADIO WITH LIZ ALLARD & ALISON MACLEOD
THURSDAY 28 SEP 10:00AM
TICKETS: £75 – £95
In this workshop BBC radio producer Liz Allard will explore the craft of writing stories for radio and other aural outlets, looking at the key differences and challenges of writing for a listening medium. Liz will lead a series of exercises focusing on openings, with practical tips to help you craft your ideas into stories to enthrall listeners (as opposed to readers), plenty of time for personal feedback, and suggestions on routes to getting your work heard. Alison MacLeod, who has written extensively for radio, will give a writer’s perspective on the subject, as well as her tips on writing great stories which work in different contexts.
Liz Allard has been producing short stories for Radio 4 and Radio 3 for fifteen years, working on Book of the Week, Book at Bedtime, and the BBC National Short Story Award. Alison MacLeod is a novelist, short story writer and Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.
This workshop is aimed at those with some prior creative writing experience, in any format. Participants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with BBC Radio 4’s short story output before the workshop.
Supported by The Booker Prize Foundation
Shuttle Bus available for workshop participants from Lewes station at 9.15am
West Sussex Writers – 80th Anniversary Writers Event
|Day-long writers’ event with 6 acclaimed speakers, July 29th, 2017
To celebrate its 80 year anniversary, West Sussex Writers is holding a day-long writers’ event in central Worthing, featuring talks and seminars from 6 fantastic writers. Lunch and refreshments are included in the ticket price.
Alison MacLeod will start the day with a Keynote presentation, this will be followed by a workshop format with 3 break-out sessions in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, with the following titles:
Alison MacLeod – This workshop is now full
Melanie Whipman – “Characterisation for All Abilities”
Stephanie Norgate – “…whisperings around desolate shores…”
Clare Best – “Using photographs and mementoes to mine material for life writing”
Julie Everton – “How to develop ideas for film”
Umi Sinha – “Wordplay”
The full day of activities will take place on Saturday, July 29th, starting at 9:30am for a 4:30pm finish – with lunch, refreshments and end-of-day celebrations included in the ticket price. It will be held at Bohunt School, 65a Broadwater Rd, Worthing BN14 8AG. Parking is available on site.
WSW members should book here
|Bohunt School Worthing, Worthing on Saturday 29 July 2017
Doors Open at 9:30AM
Starts at 10:00AM
Ticket Price: £22.00
|Box Office: 01903867412|
Summer Scholars: Writing North America / Uncle Tom’s Cabin
– FREE ENTRY
A novelist and a researcher explore North American texts and ‘co-texts’
The Summer Scholars season of free lunchtime talks explore the broad and exciting range of research being conducted in the North American collections at the British Library by Eccles Centre Fellows. Tea and coffee will be served and attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.
Writing North America
Alison MacLeod’s most recent novel, Unexploded (2013), was longlisted for The 2013 Man-Booker Prize for Fiction and was one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’. In her short story collection all the beloved ghosts (2017), MacLeod fuses imaginative writing with autobiography, biography, the essay form and historical accounts in a series of ’emotionally powerful meditations’ (Sunday Times). Research – a ‘looking outward’ – has long been vital to MacLeod’s writing, for both its inspiration and the sense of authenticity it can lend a work of fiction. In this talk the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award winner discusses the research and ‘co-texts’ behind two stories with a North American theme.
‘Like Topsy, It Has Just Grown Up’: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Singapore’s Decolonisation
At a Commonwealth Day Speech for school children on 24 May 1957 in the Crown Colony of Singapore, British governor W A C Goode referred to Uncle Toms’s Cabin (1852), an American anti-slavery bestseller by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Reflecting on the history of former and current British colonies and celebrating their growth, he remarked: ‘The Commonwealth of Nations which we remember today has no birthday in the way that you or I have. More like Topsy, the little girl in the story Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it has just grown up.’ In this talk, Eriko Ogihara-Schuck considers the implications of a British governor celebrating the growth of the Commonwealth, of which Singapore was a part, by comparing it with an African American slave girl, and suggests it functions as a crucial window into the decolonisation discourse in late colonial Singapore.
Alison MacLeod was born in Canada and has lived in the UK since 1987. She is the author of three novels – The Changeling, The Wave Theory of Angels, and Unexploded – and two short story collections, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction and all the beloved ghosts. She is a Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester and was a joint winner of the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award.
Eriko Ogihara-Schuck is a lecturer in American Studies at TU Dortmund University, Germany. She is currently researching the reception of American literature and culture in Singapore from the nineteenth century to the present. She was a 2016 Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow at the British Library.
All the Beloved Ghosts
The British Library
Alison MacLeod discusses her playful and evocative short stories
Alison MacLeod, joint winner of the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award, reads from and discusses her new short story collection, All the Beloved Ghosts (Bloomsbury, 2017). Precise, playful and evocative, her exquisitely crafted stories explore memory, the media and mortality, unfolding at the line between reality and fiction.
In discussion with Lara Feigel, writer and Reader in English, King’s College London, Alison reflects on her work, including the role of research and the challenges of negotiating the creative line between the real and the unreal.
The discussion will be followed by a book signing.
Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library
Enjoy food and drink purchased from the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.00 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00.
- Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts
Date/Time: 27th April 2017, 19:15
Venue: Culture Lab, Newcastle University
Shelley Day will read from and talk about her debut novel, The Confession of Stella Moon (Contraband, 2016), a psychological noir story set in Newcastle the 60s and 70s.
Alison MacLeod’s most recent novel, Unexploded, was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and was one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’. Alison will read from all the beloved ghosts (Bloomsbury, March 2017) and will explore the strange relations between fact, fiction and the imagined life.
An Evening With Alison MacLeod
Tuesday 25th April 2017 19:30
Waterstones Brighton are delighted to present an evening with award-winning author Alison MacLeod. Alison will be talking about her stunning new collection of short stories All The Beloved Ghosts. Her previous novel, Brighton-based Unexploded, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well as being chosen as one of The Observer’s books of the year.
Alison will be interviewed on the night by Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director of City Reads and Director of Collected Works.
This event is supported by the kind generosity of our sponsor, Brighton Gin.
Tickets for this event are £3. They are available online at the bottom of this page (see online at Waterstones Brighton), by phoning 01273 206017, or by speaking to our ground floor booksellers.
Cambridge Literary Festival
18 APRIL 2017
Adam O’Riordan & Alison MacLeod
Two exceptionally talented writers turn their talents to the short story and the result is two exquisite collections. Award-winning poet, Adam O’Riordan, focusses his lyrical gaze on fractured lives along America’s West coast in his collection, The Burning Ground. Alison MacLeod, novelist and essayist, takes us from Nova Scotia, to London, to Charleston, in her playful and evocative collection, All the Beloved Ghosts.
Chaired by Jo Browning Wroe
Wednesday 5th April 18:30
Gower Street, London
THE SHORT STORY SALON: Tessa Hadley, Alison MacLeod and Jessie Greengrass in conversation
with Alice Slater
The Short Story Salon is a new monthly event curated and chaired by Gower Street bookseller and mslexia columnist Alice Slater. 2017 has already seen a wealth of new collections, both meaningful and accomplished, from well-established authors to exciting debuts. The Short Story Salon will celebrate the form with readings, conversation and wine. For our inaugural salon on April 5th, we will be welcoming Tessa Hadley, Alison MacLeod and newcomer Jessie Greengrass to Gower Street.
- 30th March, 2017, The Gluck Studio, Steyning, East Sussex
- AN EVENING WITH ALISON MACLEOD
We are very excited to welcome novelist, short-story writer and essayist Alison MacLeod to Steyning for the first time. She will speak at The Gluck Studio in Steyning at 7.30 pm on Thursday 30th March. (Chair: Zoe Gilbert)
Alison is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at Chichester University and is a novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her novel The Unexploded was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize and selected as one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’. Her latest book is a wonderful short story collection, showing her at the height of her storytelling powers, taking us into history, literature and the hidden lives of iconic figures……
Alison will be interviewed by Zoe Gilbert, who is a perfect choice for this role. Zoe is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2014 and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She is working on a PhD in Fiction and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, focusing on the influence of folk tales on contemporary short stories and Bloomsbury will be publishing an anthology of her work in 2018. She chairs the Short Story Critique Group at Waterstones Piccadilly and co-hosts the Short Story Club at the Word Factory. She is also the co-founder of London Lit Lab, providing creative writing courses for Londoners.
Tickets, priced £10, include a glass of wine and a £5 voucher towards any purchase of ‘All the Beloved Ghosts’
Tickets available from the Steyning Bookshop, Steyning, East Sussex.
- UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER (UK): Tuesday, March 28 (6:30 – 8:30)
- University’s Man Booker-nominated lecturer celebrates short story
- SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017
- Word Factory #52 – Post-truth: explore the art of getting to the truth
- by The Word Factory
- Adur Reads: Unexploded Alison MacLeod
- Friday, 2nd October 2015
- 7:00 PM, Shoreham Library
- Ticket Cost: £7/5
- Wordfest and West Sussex Libraries are encouraging people throughout Adur and beyond to read Alison MacLeod’s acclaimed novel, Unexploded, culminating in a discussion with the author herself at this special Wordfest event.
Set in Brighton in the early days of the Second World War, Unexploded describes the impact of war, at first a distant threat and then a plight that overshadows all aspects of life in the town. It leads to unexpected consequences for a young family, struggling to cope with mounting chaos, fear and prejudice. It is also a story about the power of love, art and literature, and the beauty of the landscape of Sussex. There will be many aspects readers will want to discuss with Alison, who has lived in Sussex since 1989, and in Brighton since 2000. Unexploded was long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. It was selected as a ‘Book of the Year’ by The Observer and featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’. Currently flying off the library and bookshop shelves, with copies available to buy for signing at the event.
- THE 2014 HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE FESTIVAL (Nov. 2014)
- THE 2014 CORK INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY FESTIVAL (Sept. 2014)
- Sept. 18, 2014 – Reading
- Sketch (AM, top left) by Alexandre Fage:
- THE INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY CONFERENCE ON THE SHORT STORY IN ENGLISH (Vienna)
- July 17, 2014 – Reading
- FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER
- June 23, 2014 – Writing a First Novel: Reflections on the Journey (6 pm)
- THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL CHARLESTON LITERARY FESTIVAL
- May 26, 2014 – Odes to Virginia Woolf (Maggie Gee & Alison MacLeod)
- THE 2014 JAIPUR INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE FESTIVAL (Jan. 2014)
- Jan. 25th I’m back from book events at the Jaipur International Literature Festival – an extraordinary, free gathering of a quarter of a million book lovers. Many thanks to the entire JLF team for their kindness and hospitality.
- Nov. 24, 2013 The new Gimbal App features stories from cities around the world. Map your own journey in fiction. Read or be read to. My story ‘The Heart of Denis Noble’ unfolds across London. It was inspired by Prof. Denis Noble’s 1960 breakthrough discovery about the electrical signalling system within the heart. I feel very lucky to count Denis as a good friend. Here’s a picture of him taken at the BBC National Short Story Awards in 2011, the year when ‘The Heart of Denis Noble’ was one of shortlisted stories.
- Nov. 11, 2013 Unexploded is ‘Book of the Month’ over at BOOKGROUP.INFO. Thanks to Clare Chandler for the terrific interview and review.
- Nov. 8, 2013 New interview at The Toronto Quarterly.
- Oct. 27, 2013 Images of Park Crescent, Brighton – the setting for Unexploded
- Oct. 17 – 18, 2013 It’s the Manchester Literature Festival and reflections on Katherine Mansfield’s stories. Then it’s over to Lancaster LitFest for a reading with Evie Wyld.
- Sept. 28, 2013 At the International Small Wonder Festival, the winner of The inaugural Charleston-Chichester Award for Lifetime Excellence in Short Fiction – William Trevor – is announced. (Alison serves as a judge for the Award.) Alison also discusses the inspiration of Katherine Mansfield, and her relationship with Virginia Woolf.
- Sept. 19, 2013 U.K. launch of Unexploded in Brighton at the Hotel du Vin
- Simon Prosser, Publisher, Hamish Hamilton Books (Penguin UK)
- Sept. 10, 2013 Canadian publication with Hamish Hamilton Canada – hooray!
- Aug. 2013 Q&A for the Man-Booker
- July 31, 2013 Unexploded UK publication is rush-released.
- July 23, 2013 Unexploded is longlisted for The 2013 International Man-Booker Prize.