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, November 2018

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

The Minutes, 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
, 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, January 2018

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, 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?