Selected stories & essays
Stuck on You: An Ode to the Second Person
The Paris Review, December 2018
It’s true that it’s annoying, the second person. Isn’t it? It annoys you.
Communing with Mrs Gaskell
New York Review of Books, October 2018
Gaining the dead’s permission to write about them was a preoccupation of the Victorian age, and, as my book entered the world, it became mine, too.
The Joy of Womansplaining
Boundless.com, November 2018
If mansplaining is the unnecessary interjection of unwanted information, then womansplaining is this earnest sharing of hard-earned wisdom across the generations.
Granta.com, September 2018
Short story, shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018.
Should we stop reading into authors' lives and get back to their books?
The Guardian, September 2018
There are many good writers whose politics and opinions leave us queasy about enjoying their work. Is a story a celebration of its author?
When it Didn't Work Out with a Living Writer, I Turned to the Dead
LitHub, August 2018
Finding comfort and companionship with a nineteenth-century author.
Falling in Love with Someone Who Isn’t There
Medium.com, August 2018
My boyfriend was across the Atlantic. My PhD subject was dead. But through their words, I formed deep attachments to both.
Modern Love: How I Lost the Fiancé but Won the Honeymoon
The New York Times, August 2018
“Where is your husband?” people kept asking. “Why isn’t he here?”
Out damned spot: torments of the thriller women
Boundless.com, January 2018
A writer decided to distract herself by reading thrillers after a miscarriage. She found plot-lines filled with distressed and delirious women.
Lenny Letter, March 2017
A writer finds her voice in an unlikely place.
In praise and defence of the Creative Writing MFA
The Guardian, April 2018
These days, it is normal for authors to go to writing workshops – or teach them. So why does the idea they produce derivative writers persist?
How Not To Write A Novel, Writers & Artists, March 2018
Notes from an Author, National Geographic, December 2017
Any Idiot Can Write a Book, Granta, May 2017
Summer Romance: Smackdog & Tom, The Sunday Times, August 2017
Why Nell Stevens moved to the Falklands to write her novel, The Sunday Times, May 2017
Elizabeth Gaskell: Charlotte Brontë's unlikely defender against prurient gossip, The Guardian, April 2017
Writing on an Island at the End of the World, LitHub, March 2017
Spinning a yarn at the edge of the world, Globe and Mail, March 2017
I Went to the End of the Earth to Write My Novel—Here’s What Happened, Vogue, February 2017