The Abu Dhabi Writers' Workshop

June, 2015

I set up The Abu Dhabi Writers' Workshop for new and emerging writers through Meet-Up. By June 2016, the Workshop had a membership of over 740 and is now a unique community of committed writers. Around fifteen of us meet up on a weekly basis to write and to discuss writing-related issues.

Clean Language with Lynne Cooper

June 12-July 24, 2015

I attended a Clean Language training, facilitated by the excellent Lynne Cooper

7th International Clean Conference

June 5-8, 2015

I was fortunate to receive a bursary enabling me to attend this fascinating conference, held at the University of London, Malet Street. I attended presentations by leading specialists in the field of Clean Language: James Lawley, Penny Tomkins, Wendy Sullivan, Caitlin Walker, Lucas Derks, Julia McCracken, Konrad Juszczyk, Lynne Cooper ,and many others.

Rules of the House

November, 2015

My 'migrant' story. Boris gets to stay in Ken's flat, but not everyone is as welcoming as Ken. Rules of the House appeared in Jotters United, Issue 18.

Victim Support

July 24, 2015

This story, set in London, appeared in Jotters United, Issue 16

Which Twin has the Toni?

April, 2015

This article on the role of twins in contemporary fiction appeared in the IATEFL Literature, Media and Cultural Studies Newsletter, Issue 46, pp.29-31

The Awakening

February 23, 2015

From time to time I do write poems. This one first saw the light of day in an Emirates Lit Fest workshop led by Andrew Motion. I later submitted a revised version to Far Off Places, where it was published in Volume III, Issue 1, The Second Breakfast, Winter 2015.

Fresh Air

January 28, 2015

This story appeared in Jotters United, Issue 10: Someone strange is hanging around outside the flat. It makes you woozy just thinking about it.


October 28, 2014

In this story, published in Jotters United, Issue 8, I came up with a simple solution for writer's block.

The Older Short-Haired Female

April, 2014

This story, a cautionary tale for those captivated by the beauty of birds - all kinds of birds - was published in Bare Fiction, Issue 2.

Masterclasses at the Emirates LitFest 2014

March 4-8, 2014

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai promised another extraordinary line-up of authors this year. The organisers did not disappoint. I was able to attend Masterclasses with Andrew Motion, D.J. Taylor, Rachel Hore and Peter James. 

I was reunited with fellow writer Hajer Almosleh, winner of last year’s National/ADIBF Short Story Competition, and we dined alongside Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. We experienced some degree of happiness without actually reading the book because we won first place in the Murder Mystery Dinner Competition.

 The Harvill Secker/Telegraph Crime Writing Competition

February 15, 2014

My draft novel, Foreigner, was one of 6 titles to be shortlisted out of over 420 entries to the Harvill Secker/Telegraph Crime Writing Competition. I was not the lucky winner unfortunately - the £5,000 prize went to Abir Mukherjee for his novel A Rising Man. However, Alison Hennessey, Senior Crime Editor at Harvill Secker did tell me that, ‘our panel of judges loved the setting of your piece and thought the opening pages were particularly strong.’ Encouraged by this comment, I am considering whether or not to pursue a life of crime … writing.

Twins and Mr Football

July 2, 2013

A number of people - you know who you are - have made snide comments about Mr Football. I am pleased to report that he is alive and well and doing a global tour of the schools. He has sold well over 2,000 copies, while Twins, published later, is close to the 2,000 mark. 

The 2013 Winchester Writers' Conference

June 22, 2013

Four of my stories were awarded Commended and Highly Commended in the Writing Can Be Murder, A Page of Prose, Lifewriting and Short Story categories at the Winchester Writers' Awards Ceremony.


Lifewriting Winners Presentation at Winchester
(Credit: Photo by Megan Reid)





This is the second year that I've attended the conference, which is now in its 33rd year. Julian Fellowes, originator of the Downton Abbey series was one of this year's plenary speakers. The Conference's founder and director Barbara Large MBE has never failed to bring in the very best speakers and lecturers. I attended a Masterclass with author and docudramatist Paul Bryers, as well as screenwriting workshops with Craig Batty, Julian Unthank, and David Hanson.



Janet with Winchester Conference Director Barbara Large, MBE.




The National's Short Story Competition

April 29, 2013

My short story Postcard was one of the winners of this year's National Newspaper Short Story Competition, run in association with the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. 

Postcard is a story about identity, and about being your own person. It explores the loss of things past and the courage to embrace change.


Janet with the National’s Hala Khalaf and Emirati writer Shahd Thani



Contrasting Cultures

April 15, 2013

Literature Teaching in the EFLContext: New Perspectives is the title of new book from Sultan Qaboos University, edited by Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi and Professor Adrian Roscoe. My thanks to them for including my article, 'Contrasting Cultures: Reading Popular Fiction in the Arab World,' in this comprehensive and fascinating collection.





I’ll Do It Later

April 5, 2013

My article, 'I'll do it later: mentoring the occasional writer,' appeared in the Spring 2013 Issue of Writing in Education. This was based on the workshop I gave at the NAWE Conference in York in November 2012. Alan Bennett, Simon Armitage, Ian McMillan and David Morley were guest speakers at this 25th Anniversary Event.





Masterclasses at the Emirates LitFest

March 5-9, 2013

Once again the Dubai LitFest organisers came up with a splendid array of authors for this annual event. I attended Masterclasses with Ben Okri, Deborah Moggach, and Alan Dean Foster. I dined alongside Geoff Dyer and his wife. They had the good grace not to complain about me.





Distinctly Pleased

July 6, 2012

If I’m looking a little smug of late, it’s because Manchester Metropolitan University have confirmed the results of the MA Creative Writing following the meeting of the Board of Examiners. I got a Distinction. I will celebrate by eating a Bakewell tart (because I like Bakewell tarts and because I deserve one).




June 23, 2012

The synopsis and opening pages of Veneziano, my book-in-progress, were awarded a prize at this year’s Winchester Writers’ Conference. The competition was sponsored by The Queen’s English Society and The Joyce Morris Literacy Foundation. The award was presented by Dr Bernard Lamb of QES.





Double Vision

May 2012

My book Twins, published by Helbling, has now reached the bookshops. See the Books For Children page for further details.