My experience

I’m a professional writer and editor with two decades of experience.

As author:

My first book One No, Many Yeses, was a political travelogue which explored the growing anti-capitalist movement around the world. It was published in 2003 by Simon and Schuster, in six languages in 13 countries.

My second book, Real England, was published in 2008 by Portobello. An exploration of the changing face of my home country in an age of globalisation, the book was quoted in speeches by the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, helped inspire the success of the hit West End play ‘Jerusalem’ and saw me compared to Cobbett and Orwell by more than one newspaper.

My first poetry collection, Kidland, was published by Salmon in 2011. My poetry has won various awards, including the BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year Award, the Poetry Life Prize, and the 2012 Wenlock Festival Prize.

My first novel, The Wake, is published by Unbound in 2014. In advance of publication, it was described by Lucy Mangan in The Guardian as ‘the most glorious experience I’ve had with a book in years’, by the poet Heathcote Williams as ‘an astonishing feat of imagination’ and by the writer Jay Griffiths as ‘an extraordinary, original and spellbinding book.’

As teacher:

I currently work as a manuscript assessor and/or online mentor for writers with a number of institutions: the Literary Consultancy, the Writers Workshop and the Professional Writing Academy. I’ve lectured and taught on my books and on writing in many locations over the years, including the Edinburgh International festival, the Oxford Literary Festival, the Brisbane Literary Festival and others. Most recently I’ve been a guest tutor and lecturer to students on the Professional Writing MA course at Falmouth University.

For the last two years, I’ve also been running a writers’ retreat on Dartmoor, in collaboration with the Westcountry School of Myth, which I devised myself and which helps writers ‘rewild’ their work through a combination of talks, exercises and experiences in the untamed outdoors.

As editor:

I have extensive experience of helping writers get the best from their work. I worked for a year on the comment desk of The Independent in 1995, which gave me a rapid immersion in the high-pressure editorial traditions of Fleet Street. I was deputy editor of The Ecologist magazine from 1999 to 2001, during which time I transformed it from slightly fusty journal to accessible maqazine. I was a commissioning editor for OpenDemocracy in the early 2000s, and I was editor of Greenpeace Business magazine for nearly two years soon after that. I am currently co-editor of the critically-acclaimed Dark Mountain series of books, which I co-founded and have edited for four years.

As journalist:

I have been writing journalism, from short news stories to long features, since the early 1990s. In the UK I have written for the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, New Statesman, New Internationalist, Big Issue, BBC Wildlife and many online publications. Internationally I have written for Le Monde, Adbusters, Orion, ABC (Australia) and various smaller publications. In 2014, my essay Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist won the Pushcart Prize for independent writing in the US. You can read much of my journalism here.

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