Thu 13 June 2024
Career Stories
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Career Stories - How Did I Get Here?

These are specially commissioned features in which writers and literature professionals at different stages in their careers talk frankly about who and what has helped them get to where they are today.

Malika Booker - A writing course junkie

Writer, spoken word and multi-disciplinary artist Malika Booker tells how an early addiction to creative writing courses provided her with the ideal foundation for a career as a writer and creative writing facilitator.

Photograph: Lyndon Douglas courtesy of renaissance one

Ann Cleeves - The rewards of crime

Award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves reveals how joining the Murder Squad has helped her to reach readers and promote her books - and brought her a support network. 

Linda Cracknell - Turning a hobby into a life

Freelance writer of drama and fiction Linda Cracknell on how winning the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition in 1998 thrust her from the wings. ‘Suddenly I was a ‘writer’, had £6,000 in my pocket, and the interest of publishers.’

Steve Dearden - Breaking eggs

Writer, literature activist and consultant Steve Dearden reflects on how watching and working alongside peers and not being afraid to break the odd egg or two has been for him a better way to learn than formal training.


Helen East - Careering along the way

Helen East tells how answering an advert in the dole office for a storyteller has led to a long and much celebrated career as a freelance writer, storyteller and community artist. 

Victoria Field - A wild and precious life

Writer and trained poetry therapist Victoria Field describes how she left a secure and interesting job with the British Council to fulfil a writing vocation that she realizes she has been travelling towards for most of her life.

Rosie Garland aka Rosie Lugosi: How to have your cake and eat it
Writer and performer Rosie Garland aka Rosie Lugosi on how you can keep the day job and be a full-time writer.

Photograph: © Dominik Gigler

Hannah Griffiths - The job of my dreams
Editor Hannah Griffiths on how she landed the job of her dreams at Faber & Faber after starting out as a publicist with Penguin Books and Virago Press and going on to co-found The Literary Consultancy and work with literary agency Curtis Brown. 

Catherine Johnson - A glass half full

Catherine Johnson reflects on the joys and challenges of writing for teenagers and how lucky she is to have a job she loves - even if she’s still waiting for the awards and the big advances.

Fin Kennedy - How not to disappear
Fin Kennedy on how getting to know how theatres work from the inside has helped him to realise his goal of being a professional playwright.

Nicola McCartney - Accidental playwright

Award-winning playwright and director Nicola McCartney tells how being able to 'split herself' and do lots of different jobs - writing, directing, devising, dramaturgy, running a theatre company, education and community work - is for her a creative as well as financial necessity.

Mark McCrum - Only happy writing

Writer and journalist Mark McCrum tells how he started out as a trainee advertising account exec but has successfully forged out a career for himself in writing, with a string of travel books, TV tie-ins and non-fiction books under his own name and several that he has ghostwritten.

Greg Mosse - Find me writing

Writer and educator Greg Mosse tells how being open to opportunities has allowed him to carve out a complex career for himself as a writer, translator and teacher of creative writing and still find time to work on shared projects with wife Kate Mosse and home educate their son. 

Marina Oliver - Try everything once

Novelist and How to Books author Marina Oliver on the importance of trying out different kinds of writing until you find your niche.

Kaite O’Reilly - Fortune favours the brave, but chance favours the prepared mind

Playwright, prose writer, dramaturg and tutor Kaite O’Reilly on the importance of investing in constructive dreaming. ‘Identify what you’d love to do, invest in the skills and experience you need to make it happen and in many cases it will.’ 

Andrew Walsh - Breaking into gameswriting

Scriptwriter Andrew Walsh on how writing for television, radio, animation, theatre and film has led to a successful career in gameswriting.

John Williams - Puffins, serpents and punk rock: a writing life

Writer John Williams, author of The Cardiff Trilogy, tells how his plan to become a novelist via journalism and writing non-fiction books has worked out better than he ever expected. 

Moyra Donaldson - Breaking the silence

Award-winning poet and creative writing facilitator Moyra Donaldson tells how she found her own voice as a ‘Prod and a woman in Northern Ireland’ and has helped others to tell their stories through her work in the community.