Have They Got Fake News For You?

This is the first in a series of posts inspired by taking part in York Theatre Royal’s new community play Everything is Possible about the York Suffragette movement (20th June to 2nd July). The human stories of winning the vote reminds me that our engagement in society is both our (hard won) right and our duty.

As we enter election season (both local on 4th May and national on 8th June), I felt it was time to reflect on the debate organised by my friends at Glass Half Full earlier this year on the subject of “fake news” and the social media bubble. Continue reading “Have They Got Fake News For You?”

Author News: The Delight of Boxes

It is with great pleasure that we announce that “The Delight of Boxes” is now available in paperback: post-apocalyptic fiction with an unreliable narrator, exploring themes of family, truth and trust.  This week only (18th to 25th April), you can enter our GoodReads giveaway here for a chance to win a free copy!

You can also check out his previous collections for tales of love, hope and betrayal, from fractured fairy tales to unexpected superheroes. What will you discover? Continue reading “Author News: The Delight of Boxes”

Author News: Who Killed All the Radio Stars?

This was originally posted on the Transmundane Press blog for the anthology “After the Happily Ever After”, published December 2016

We’ve been reading a lot about the curse of 2016. As writers, we’re in the causality business. Those of us who write horror are wise to exploit superstition in all its forms. Just how solid is our grasp of cause and effect, and is it all we need to succeed? Continue reading “Author News: Who Killed All the Radio Stars?”

Making Change Happen: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

This post is adapted from something I wrote about CPD for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Whether it’s a new year’s resolution or a Lenten fast, many of us try at various points in the year to make changes, but it’s easy for these to peter out over time. How can we stop our good intentions ending up as wishful thinking? Charles Duhigg’s book “The Power of Habit” includes some intriguing evidence about how we can move from good intentions to actions with three simple steps: Continue reading “Making Change Happen: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg”

Author News: A Grace Given in Sorrow – Stories as Soulcraft with Edward Cooke

This was originally posted on the Transmundane Press blog for the anthology “After the Happily Ever After”, published December 2016

Bruno Bettelheim has had a bad press. He’s been pilloried for extending the influence of nurture much further than we’re comfortable with. He was even so unfashionable as to believe we could all be nurtured by exposure to stories. In The Uses of Enchantment he puts it like this:

“Explaining to a child why a fairy tale is so captivating… destroys… the story’s enchantment. Adult interpretations rob the child of the opportunity… through repeated hearing and ruminating about the story, to cope successfully with a difficult situation. We grow, we find meaning in life and security in ourselves, by having understood and solved personal problems on our own, not by having them explained to us by others.” Continue reading “Author News: A Grace Given in Sorrow – Stories as Soulcraft with Edward Cooke”

The Limits To Travel – David Metz

Alongside Barry Hutton’s excellent “Planning Sustainable Transport” (also by Routledge), this is in the small but important list of “books which changed how I think about transport” and worth reading several times over. The author, David Metz, has spent his career at the Department for Transport and in various academic research positions, so he is able to explain authoritatively what good transport policy looks like.  Continue reading “The Limits To Travel – David Metz”

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is probably my top film of this year: beautifully made and heartrendingly emotional. Both the film and the original book were written by Patrick Ness and the film opened in cinemas last week.

The story revolves around Conor, a 13 year old boy trying to cope with his mother’s cancer as she tries one treatment after another. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare where a huge sinkhole opens up and almost swallows both him and his mother if only he holds tightly to her. Continue reading “A Monster Calls”

From Good Housekeeping to Good Asset Management: what would Mrs Beeton think?

This week I’ve been rereading a favourite book of mine, Laura Vanderkam’s “168 Hours”, preparing for a family visit and wondering what would happen if we had Mrs Beeton, Laura Vanderkam and an engineer in the same room… Because the truth is, people don’t apply the same standards to their home lives as they do at work, and some regard the state of your home as a matter of moral failure (making the rest of us feel guilty).

So what would your house look like if you applied the principles of asset management rather than Good Housekeeping? Continue reading “From Good Housekeeping to Good Asset Management: what would Mrs Beeton think?”

Business Book Club: The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman is one of those books every engineer should keep close to their desk for frequent reference. Continue reading “Business Book Club: The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman”

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