Saturday, 19 September 2015


My short story 'Critics' published on Story Shack, with illustration by Sayantan Halder:

To Hull and Back

Just missed out in the To Hull and Back short story competition (, just a 'special mention' for my losing entry Einstein's Napkin, which you can read here:

Sunday, 6 October 2013

My running shorts

As part of my dedication to the topic of running and writing, I have this year been composing a series of stories themed around running.

I've just finished my tenth story, all of which can be found at:

This afternoon I will go for a run. I promise. I am not, as Mrs Oblong has suggested, someone who writes about running but doesn't do it any more. Honest!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Running and writing

A few years ago Haruki Murakami, published ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’. This was an insane treat for me, my favourite author writing about my two favourite hobbies – running and writing. It’s as if Half Man Half Biscuit had written an album about drinking real ale at an Essex cricket match.

There does seem to be some inexplicable overlap between running and writing. There is something of the same mentality required, the need to shut off the rest of the world and focus on putting one foot in front of the other, or one word in front of the other, both processes repeated over and over.

Both are hard work posing as ‘a fun hobby’. Both take a certain type of bloody-minded commitment, especially when the winter minimums of 6k and a story a week are replaced by the serious stuff – 10 mile runs and the next bloody novel.

And, for the amateur runner/writer, there’s no medal waiting at the finish line, the critics don’t lob Booker prizes at me every time I finish a novel, the only reward is the satisfaction of completing the run/finishing the story.

Both are essential parts of soul-nurturing. Life without running and writing would simply be odd, incomplete, not life as I know it.

Mrs Oblong often quotes Tony Wilson’s comment that ‘In doing it you find out why you do it’. Well I’ve been running and writing for over twenty years now, and I couldn’t explain why I do either, other than to say it’s just what I do.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

My alphabetical preference

Let me begin by listing some of my favourite authors:

William Kowalski, Andrey Kurkov, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, Henning Mankell, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Matthew Kneale, Spike Milligan, Magnus Mills, David Mitchell, John Mortimer, Chris Mullin, Haruki Murakami,

Notice anything?

Yep, they’re all from the same small section of the alphabet, or, more accurately, the same small section of the bookshelf.

‘What a coincidence’ you say. Well, you’d be wrong. My preferences in writers derives in part not from literary reviews I’ve read, recommendations from friends, but when I was about 16 onwards, when I got all my books from the library, and would go to the letter ‘M’ section to see if they had anything by John Mortimer, Spike Milligan, etc. Whilst looking I’d browse the other books in the section, slowly discovering other writers. Gradually I’d gain new favourites, all beginning with K to M, so my incentives for visiting the same small section of shelves grew ever more compulsive, every book in the section would be turned over, examined, flicked through.

When I could afford to buy books I continued to seek out the same shelves, discovering more new writers that hadn’t quite made it to the library.

Look again at the list. It’s pretty good isn’t it? A wide mix of writers, including representatives from America, Japan and Sweden, with a surprisingly high proportion of Pulitzer Prize winners and a couple of booker faves. It ranges from humour, surrealism to high end intellectual stuff, crime, drama, comedy and true life.

Of course, the downer here is that my own name doesn’t fit, I’m at completely the wrong end of the bookstore, if I ever get published there’s no chance I’d ever read one of my books, what would I be doing looking under ‘Clark’?

Friday, 28 June 2013

Ever the bridesmaid

My short story Wonderful Life was voted joint third in the Jukebox Story evening last night.

My thanks to the organisers for running the event, to the actors who read my story and for whoever voted for me.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Jukebox Story

As ever while I'm sat at home doing nothing constructive my stories are out there having fun. My short story Wonderful Life is being performed by the peoples at Jukebox Story tomorrow (27 June 2013) in London.

After the show my story's going to hang around backstage trying to get off with one of the better-looking stories.