Sunday, 9 July 2017

For politics.co.uk: Will the Home Office deport a three year old girl to face genital mutilation?

I wrote the politics.co.uk about the case of a family facing deportation to Nigeria, where the daughter is at risk of female genital mutilation.

Have a read

Monday, 3 July 2017

For OD 50:50 - five British LGBT writers on books that inspired them

I asked writers Paul Burston, Eley Williams, Prof Deborah Cameron, Saleem Haddad and Claire Heuchan to share the LGBT writers who inspired them, in celebration of Pride.

I also talked about Colette.

Have a read

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Artist in residence at Wales Arts Review

It's the 1st July which means my month-long residency at Wales Arts Review has begun!

I'll upload all the links to this one post so as not to have a bazillion separate posts on the blog throughout the month.

The work I'm producing for the residency explores issues of home, travel, migration and the refugee crisis. I'll also be sharing snippets from a WIP that explores the refugee crises in 2016 and 1938.

You can read all about it in my intro to the residency.

Some of the pieces will feature illustrations by Robert Griggs and Johnny Davies.

The intro

Two poems: Arch, and Endings

The Fur Collar (this is a segment from my longer WIP)

The Dress (short story

Train, with original illustration by Johnny Davies

Homecoming, with original illustration by Robert Griggs

At the border (this is a segment from my longer WIP)

At Yarls Wood (this is a segment from my longer WIP)

For Prospect UK: The government’s u-turn on abortion is welcome—but it’s not enough

On a day of exciting new for abortion rights in the UK, I wrote for Prospect magazine on why the change is welcome but not enough.

The government’s u-turn on abortion is welcome—but it’s not enough

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A quick, personal reflection on health and safety

One of the stories I grew up with as a kid was the story of when my granddad’s friend died. 
It was a ghost story – or that’s how it was told when we were kids. A premonition by my spiritualist great-nana. 

The story was this. 

My granddad had a job on the steelworks in Shotton. He and his friend were sat side-by-side, eating their lunch. A load of steel fell from a great height and killed his friend. 

This happened in the era before ‘health and safety’ or ‘elf and safety’ as it is called by Richard Littlejohn, a man for whom humour is defined by ‘putting on a funny accent’.

When you’ve grown up with stories like this, you don’t understand the demonization of health and safety regulations. The fervent desire of the Tory Party to rip up the red tape that protects our health and safety makes no sense. 

The hatred of health and safety can only come from people who have only ever been healthy and safe. Who haven’t had to work with huge containers of steel dangling precariously above their head. Who didn’t, as my dad did, witness his friends die as bombs hit his ship. Who didn’t die, as my granddad did, less than ten years after retirement having spent a chunk of his life working in a manual labour job. 

Health and safety saves lives. The idea that regulations which prevent work-placed deaths are somehow something to mock comes from a position of privilege. The idea that regulations are something to declare war on comes from a position of privilege. 

When David Cameron and Steve Hilton dreamt up their Red Tape Challenge, they did it from the position of flirting with businesses who saw regulation as a barrier to profit. 

They didn’t do it from a position of watching their friend crushed under tonnes of steel during their lunch break. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

For the New Statesman: Barring Northern Irish women from NHS abortions is no technicality

Last week I seemed to write a lot about abortion rights.

Here I am in the New Statesman writing about how the Supreme Court's decision to deny NI women NHS abortions was a deeply political act.

Have a read

For Prospect UK: Women’s bodies are under threat—so why don’t they get the same attention as gay rights?

My debut for Prospect UK was published last week.

It's called: Women’s bodies are under threat—so why don’t they get the same attention as gay rights?