Tuesday, 26 December 2017

New Art Social in The Crack Mag

On 5th January I'm starting a new night for Creative Writers called New Art Social. It'll be a place for emerging writers to share their work alongside more established novelists and poets. I'm keen to start to break down the boundaries between writers, given we all share the same challenges, and I'm excited by the writers who are signed up for the night. 

John Challis (recipient of a Northern Writers Award and author of 'The Black Cab' and Kris Johnson (who's been featured in Poetry London and The Irish Literary Review) head up the poetry component. Emily Anderson will be reading samples of humorous writing from WW1, which her PhD is concerned with. Amy Mccadden and Genna Godley (whose work is on ‘weirding’ or reconstructing the human body) will also read poetry, alonside David Bell, whose work ‘dispels silly local fantasies’. On the prose side Chris Fuller and Nikita Garner will be reading. Also featured are Unthanks Books' Sarah Dobbs, New Writing North awardee and author of 'Fontoon' John Schoneboom and Booker longlisted author Andrew Crumey. The event takes place in the beautiful downstairs cinema at Quilliam Bros Newcastle (see picture for details). It starts at 7pm, tickets £3. If you would like your work featured contact newartsocial@gmail.com or go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/newartsocial/

Here's the wonderful Crack magazine with a feature on the night...

Friday, 25 August 2017

A Number One Novel...

With 'An Honest Deceit' having recently been re-released as an Audiobook (narrated by Ian Rankin's excellent narrator Chris Reilly) it was truly great to see that the book has just reached number one in quite a few of Amazon's charts-

You can buy it as a novel, for the Kindle, or (if you're more of a listener) as an Audiobook on the link above. Thanks to all those who've bought it and made it my most reviewed book so far. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How I Left The National Grid: A Creative Writing PhD on Self-Design and Post-Punk

I thought a blog post making my PhD readily available online might be helpful. This was a Creative Writing PhD on self-design in the post-punk movement. The novel component of the PhD, entitled 'How I Left The National Grid', is available as a free preview on Google Books, here- 


Through creative and critical practice, this PhD makes an original contribution by developing theories of self-design in relation to understandings and creative representations of the post-punk movement. These materials inform the creative component of this PhD, a novel entitled How I Left The National Grid (hereafter, HILTNG). Broadly, speaking, the results, discussion and conclusion for the PhD are as follows:The term ‘self-design’ builds upon the research of Stephen Greenblatt (1980). Greenblatt used the term ‘self-fashioning’ to explore the how people in the Renaissance created their own identities in relation to ideological structures and social pressures, in a manner we recognise today. This idea of self-design recurs in the context of the punk movement, drawing from the work of Dick Hebdige (1979). This PhD uses Stuart Hall’s (2000) theories of articulation in reference to post-punk bands such as Joy Division. This allows for a more ‘post-punk’ understanding and contextualistion of self-design. This is partly possible because Hall’s consideration of ‘landscapes’ within an artists’ work led to a theoretical consideration of how post- punk musicians used landscapes as part of their identity.

Drawing from the work of Dick Hebdige (1979) and Stuart Hall (1989), self-design is thereby understood as a consequence of cultural moments in which self-expression becomes an acute concern. The historical research of Andy Beckett (2010) is drawn from. This allows the PhD to offer a context regarding how self-design has become most important during post-war, and recession-era Britain. This PhD also considers novels about contemporary music. The resulting analyses offer an insight into how works of fiction have creatively portrayed self-design in music and post-punk. Such books also offer a context to situate how HILTNG portrays the post-punk movement.

Thesis available here-

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Was recently asked to contribute to a textbook which has a chapter on author's notebooks and how they use them. It was a request which threw up some interesting stuff once I went into my box of notebooks...

Notebooks for How I Left The National Grid (Roundfire, 2015)-

Notebook for Letters from Yelena (2012)-

Creative Writing Links For My Students

I’m currently teaching creative writing for Penguin Random House (Writing for Beginner's and currently Constructing A Novel), the Open College of the Arts (Writing Skills and Scriptwriting) and elsewhere. I often have students asking questions along similar lines and having written some blogs on the various aspects of creative writing I thought I should create a go-to place where these resources can be easily found. So without further ado here is the main link- https://weareoca.com/author/guy-mankowski/

And here are links on various subjects (links in bold). There are also on the above link many other pieces on various subjects to do with being a writer, such as on getting your work published, touring to promote your work, but below are the links that are perhaps most educational. 

Writing short fiction-


How can experts enrich your writing-


Developing your voice

Ten Tips To Improve Your Sentences

Using the idea of memory in stories

Making the most of your narrative

Finally, two online Webinars made with Penguin Random House.