Scroll down for details of Alison’s publication news, upcoming talks, readings and short courses.

All the Beloved Ghosts now has a beautiful Japanese edition, published by Tokyo Sogensha:

Japanese edition

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.

Totleigh Barton Centre

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.

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at 10.30 am – Alison is interviewed by Suzanne Joinson for University of Chichester students and members of the public.  Free to attend.  All welcome.  

Nine hour reading


12:00 PM start

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.


AS Byatt with Alison MacLeod

SUNDAY 30 SEPT 2018 2:00PM

AS Byatt Small Wonder 2018


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

GENRE: Fiction 
Totleigh Barton

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.


Diving deep

GENRE: Fiction, Short Story & Tutored Retreat 
Lumb Bank

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.

September 2018, Pari, Tuscany – Alison is a confirmed speaker.  Full details are available here.

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

at Penguin Random House, Toronto

International Festival of Authors – GG finalists’ event

headdress-newsFollowing 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 MacLeod 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).


Shaping, sharpening and digging deeper

The Hurst

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.


THURSDAY 28 SEPT 2017   7:45PM

Small Wonder - Strange Offsprings, image from event to be held on 28 September 2017

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).



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.

West Sussex Writers – 80th Anniversary Writers Event

Day-long writers’ event with 6 acclaimed speakers, July 29th, 2017To 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.

Summer Scholars Season:


© Kate MacLeod

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.

All the Beloved Ghosts

The British Library

Alison MacLeod (© Kate MacLeod Photography)

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.

Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

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.

27 April 2017, 7.15


An Evening With Alison MacLeod

Tuesday 25th April 2017   19:30

All the Beloved Ghosts (Hardback)

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.

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.

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


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. 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.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER: Tuesday, March 28 (6:30 – 8:30)

Man Booker Prize-nominated lecturer Professor Alison MacLeodTHE University of Chichester’s Man Booker Prize-nominated lecturer Professor Alison MacLeod is to launch her latest book with a star-studded celebration of the short story.

The Professor of Contemporary Fiction will take to the stage at the institution on Tuesday 28 March to mark the publication of her new short fiction collection All the Beloved Ghosts. The collection, released by Bloomsbury this month, has been acclaimed as “a marvellous and unerringly poignant piece of work” by author Michèle Forbes.

Joining Professor MacLeod on stage at the event will be fellow writers Dr Katherine Orr, Melanie Whipman, and Zoe Gilbert – all postgraduates of the University – and winners of a range of prestigious literary prizes. The celebration, which is free for the public as well as University students and staff, is to be chaired by Senior Lecturer Karen Stevens of the Department of English and Creative Writing where all the writers have either worked or studied.


Sat 25 March 2017

18:00 – 20:00 GMT

This is the second in our series of readings and discussions in our Citizen: The New Story series – in association with Lacuna Magazine and the Orwell Prize.

POST-TRUTH: Paul McVeigh, Andrew Williams, Christine Toomey, Alison MacLeod and Cathy Galvin explore the art of getting to the truth, reaching for the untold story & the language and methods of effective literary expression.

Salon limited to 80 places.

A Masterclass audio podcast with Alison MacLeod about short story writing and her new collection, ALL THE BELOVED GHOSTS


The Eccles British Library Writer’s Award Festival

Thurs 23 Mar 2017, 19:00 – 21:00 A literary festival celebrating the achievements of the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award

The award (formerly Writer in Residence) of £20,000 is presented annually to two authors whose writing projects depend substantially on materials in the British Library’s collection relating to North America.  We hope to be joined by all of these award-winning authors for a one-night mini literary festival celebrating their work.


(Press Day: March 23rd)

Waterstones display, March 9th  (photo credit: Roland Webster)

MacLeod and Atkins win British Library Writer in Residence Award

(extract)Authors Alison MacLeod and William Atkins have been judged joint winners of the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer in Residence Award. Two winners have been awarded this year due to the “high standard of submissions”.The award was set up by the Eccles Centre in 2012 to promote awareness of the British Library’s collections relating to the US and Canada. Each of the winners was awarded £20,000 as well as access to the library’s collections to research their upcoming publications during a residency beginning in January 2016.Professor Philip Davies, director of The Eccles Centre and one of the judges, said: “In awarding the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer in Residence prizes to William Atkins and Alison MacLeod the judges have once again demonstrated the breadth and depth of the library’s wonderful collections on North America, and of their immense value in providing a foundation for writers of enormous talent. The prizes will offer these 2016 award holders the chance to explore trans-Atlantic and global themes from an American focal point through the unique resources of the British Library, and the projects undertaken by William Atkins and Alison MacLeod will, in the future, guide readers through the times and the spaces that they have found within those collections.”


Immerse yourself in the art and craft of fiction writing

In partnership with New Writing South

How much ‘action’ does a novel need? How do you create resonant short stories and vividly human characters whilst avoiding stereotypes?  How do you ‘charge’ your novel from the first page?  If you are looking for new ideas and approaches to reinvigorate your fiction writing or if you are deep in the middle of a work-in-progress, these three days are for you. Arvon is wrapping up its special ingredients and bringing them to an inspiring sea-side venue in Brighton for a long week-end of writing.

Led by acclaimed writers Alison MacLeod and Man Booker Award 2015 short-listed Sunjeev Sahota, this non-residential fiction course will help you discover the story you want to tell and bring it more fully to life on the page. You’ll experience a powerful mix of workshops, one-to-one tutorials, the support of fellow writers and plenty time and space to write.


SHORT STORY: ‘Fact, Fiction and Fabulation’

Oct. 5 – 10, 2015

Venue: The Arvon Foundation, The Hurst Centre

Tutors: Alison MacLeod and Graham Mort

Guest: A. L. Kennedy

If you’ve already experimented with short fiction but want to delve deeper into its possibilities, this week is for you. We’ll explore how stories can be initiated from aspects of our own experience and also, how they can be energised by pure imagination. We’ll get new stories underway, we’ll see how their surface narratives can take us towards deeper undercurrents, and we’ll engage with editing and close reading. From your story’s use of language to its narrative structure, this course will help you to shape the unique world that a writer and a reader can, together, set in motion.

Adur Reads: Unexploded Alison MacLeod

 7:00 PM, Shoreham Library

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.

A Brighton Festival Exclusive: Monday, May 4, 2015 8 pm    

Panel Discussion & Readings from ‘Liberty Writers’:  On Liberty

Venue: Brighton Dome Concert Hall

with Ali Smith, Rachel Holmes, Bidisha, Jackie Kay, Alison MacLeod, Billy Bragg and Neil Bartlett

Hosted by Shami Chakrabarti


Backstage selfie with Bidisha

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THE 2014 CORK INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY FESTIVAL (Sept. 2014) Sept. 182014Reading Sketch (AM, top left) by Alexandre Fage:CORK 2014


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)



Jan. 25th   Alison is 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.
People-in-different-moods-at-the-Jaipur-Literature-Festival-2014-at-Diggi-Palace-on-January-19-2014-(1)1614583_252682601565472_2108025402_oVisitors-browsing-through-books-during-the-ongoing-Jaipur-Literature-Festival-in-Jaipur-on-January-19-2014-David aand Alison at The Samode with agent, David Godwin

2014-01-19 15.20.50

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.  Alison’s 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. BBCShortStory_IMG_7206

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


Park Crescent spring 843010_10152528503645182_1820133842_o

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.

Award Announcement

Sept. 19, 2013   U.K. launch of Unexploded in Brighton at the Hotel du Vin

Launch 4Launch 1

Simon Prosser, Publisher, Hamish Hamilton Books (Penguin UK)
Launch 2

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.Announcement

It’s a proud day. Birth weight: 1.3 pounds. Announcement made in royal style…

Chair Robert McFarland (in need if a chair)

Robert MacFarlane, Chair of Prize Jury

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