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.
Short story, shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018.
Should we stop reading into authors' lives and get back to their books?
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.
A writer finds her voice in an unlikely place.
In praise and defence of the Creative Writing MFA
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
Notes from an Author, National Geographic
Any Idiot Can Write a Book, Granta
Summer Romance: Smackdog & Tom, The Sunday Times
Why Nell Stevens moved to the Falklands to write her novel, The Sunday Times
Spinning a yarn at the edge of the world, Globe and Mail