A Room of Our Own

Virginia Woolf was clear: £500 a year and a room of one’s own is what one needs to write. More than a century later, more than a year in, we are still mostly stuck in our rooms, but whether those rooms are solely our own is another question. Unlike many, for me the move toContinue reading “A Room of Our Own”

The Subversive Copy Editor

Is this the book that will finally get me on Twitter? Do writers need to read a book for editors? Should you judge a book by its title? Why write about this classic now? Carol Fisher Saller answers tricky questions for a living, as editor of the Q&A for the Chicago Manual of Style online.Continue reading “The Subversive Copy Editor”

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well (King Lear, Act 1 scene 4) Shakespeare said it first, but it’s worth saying again and it’s probably every editor’s or reviser’s biggest fear. If revisers are like doctors, aiming to make a text better, should they be bound by the Hippocratic oath – or at leastContinue reading “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well”

Air and Light and Time and Space

A sort of wood between the worlds,* Helen Sword’s book helps you jump in and out of academic writers’ minds, to see if their way of doing things could be yours, and why (not). Sometimes it’s like looking in a mirror – I recognized my own processes and enthusiasms in theirs. Sometimes it’s like browsingContinue reading “Air and Light and Time and Space”

How to grow your own poem

Don’t run away from that title – stay and see what Kate Clanchy has to say. She absolutely knows her stuff. She’s spent decades teaching people how to get their poems into and out of their imaginations, up to standard and down onto paper. And just because she teaches in high school, which is quiteContinue reading “How to grow your own poem”

Unravelling Unconscious Bias

Check your privilege is easy to say, but are you doing it? When you’re a queer immigrant woman like me you can get complacent, until you – I – remember that you’re a white, middle class “native speaker” of the language everyone feels they have to communicate in, which gives you power. To put itContinue reading “Unravelling Unconscious Bias”

Steering the Craft

Lockdown is the time to write your first novel, they say, but I missed the boat. I spent the beginning of it finishing the CIEP Medical Editing Course – and then needed cheering up because I missed the crew I did it with, and though we weren’t locked down anymore, by that point EVERYTHING wasContinue reading “Steering the Craft”

Bad English?

Whose English is right? It’s rather more than just you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to… Who decides? The native speakers? Native of where (not just the US or UK, what about Canada, or Kerala?) What happens when the native speakers go native? (Language attrition is real.) Just as everyone is a foreigner almost everywhere, ifContinue reading “Bad English?”