Selected stories & essays

Stuck on You: An Ode to the Second Person

The Paris Review

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

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

If mansplaining is the unnecessary interjection of unwanted information, then womansplaining is this earnest sharing of hard-earned wisdom across the generations.

The Minutes

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

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


Finding comfort and companionship with a nineteenth-century author.

Falling in Love with Someone Who Isn’t There

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

“Where is your husband?” people kept asking. “Why isn’t he here?”

Out damned spot: torments of the thriller women

A writer decided to distract herself by reading thrillers after a miscarriage. She found plot-lines filled with distressed and delirious women.

Speaking Lessons

Lenny Letter

A writer finds her voice in an unlikely place.


In praise and defence of the Creative Writing MFA

The Guardian

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?