On Saturday, I got this beautiful issue of Structo, with my fiction on its pages. I read an excerpt of the story at The Society Club in London where the issue was launched, and met some of the other wonderful writers. There were softly lit lamps, good people and Hemingway Daiquiri. All things right.

To everyone who’s asked, the issue is for sale from August 1, and you can pre-order your copy here (they ship worldwide, and you’ll be supporting a wonderful, not-for-profit effort to produce good literature):

You can also pick up, or order, a copy from select shops in the UK. Or from shops in New York, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. The list of shops/stockists are here:

If you’d rather not make a purchase now, please wait a while – the online version will be available after three months, and is then free to read. I will post a link to my story here when that happens.

Thank you, always, for supporting, and reading, and following my work! I really appreciate it, you know.

Love, P xx

A year older


Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

There’s been much said about what James Wright meant by the last line. For some, it means what it says – a wasted life, a regret. But in my mind, there’s never been any doubt that he meant quite the opposite. I can see him, lying in the hammock, his proverbial tongue in his proverbial cheek, gently laughing at those who rush and run. Laughing at those who think lying in a hammock at William Duffy’s farm is a waste of time. Because James knew, even then, that they were all wrong. That life was in watching a bronze butterfly sleep, listening to cowbells, and seeing the chicken hawk float home. And so he laughed and changed not a damn thing; just swung on his hammock as day turned to dusk. 

When I was young, I would stare at the clouds for hours with my school books open in front of me; Ma Baba kept the curtians drawn before an exam. And now, as I get on with this business of being an adult, I still find time to waste. 

It’s midnight now. July 22, 00:00 hours, the laptop tells me. Which means I’ve just turned a year older. Two sleepy voices, one big and one little, will sing me Happy Birthday in a few minutes. And there’s one thing I know for certain: I’ve wasted my life well. 

If you’re in London, and fancy joining me for a spot of time wasting, please drop by The Society Club in Soho on July 25 – I’ll be there for the launch of Structo Magazine’s new issue, and I’d love to meet you! Structo publishes a fantastic anthology of fiction and poetry, and I’m very proud to have my work in its new issue. I’ll be doing a reading from my story ‘Dancing in the Drawing Room’, which is part of the anthology (available online and in bookstores post July 25).

Details for the launch and reading, here, if you can make it!

Have a happy, wasted week, everyone!



I don’t quite know how to begin this post, so I write a line, delete and wait. And then I decide to tell you: I don’t quite know how to begin this post.

When I’m excited about something, I can never lead up to it with any amount of graceful restraint. I just have to put it out there – plop. And since ‘out there’ means out here, to you who know me, I can lose the grace and do a dance and tell you that my second fiction is out.

It’s a story called ‘Bilet’ and it’s now on the wonderful Tupelo Quarterly; it’s also my first publication in the US.

You can read ‘Bilet’ here:

[PS: Many of you emailed me saying that a comment you posted hasn’t been published. Please know that if you don’t see your comment here, it means it hasn’t reached me. Apparently, you need to be connected to your Google Plus account, or a Blogger account (even if temporary) to be able to comment. Or just choose ‘Name/URL’ from the drop-down menu at the comment box.
Thank you – for persevering and writing in; I appreciate it more than you know.]

The first, a first

It’s been a strange, wonderful week. Very full in many ways. My first reading couldn’t have gone better – thank you all for wishing me well. I took that with me.

And today, my short story was published in Litro. It’s one of London’s favourite literary journals, so the fact that it’s home to my first published story (and the first story I ever wrote) feels like a special thing.

The story is called ‘Well-brought-up’. Please read it when you can, and tell me what you think. Your responses are as much a record of this space as my thoughts are.

This one’s for all of you who told me I should write stories, and for all of you who come here to read what I write:


Uncharted territory

We’re back from Sicily: goodness, an island of such utter beauty; it leaves you weak-kneed, and as surprised as a child. England, on the other hand, was as stolid as a black umbrella on a soggy day. The plane landed through dark grey clouds, on a wet tarmac, into a damp chill – the usual suspects really, but home still. Never a bad thing.

I’m going to put together a post on our lazy-hazy-crazy days in the Sicilian sun, but before that I thought I’d share something else.

Some months ago, I terrified myself by writing my first short story. And then I wrote another. One of those stories was shortlisted for the Words And Women Competition, 2014. It’s a story called Mrs. Sen. I’ll be reading from it at the launch of the Words And Women Anthology next week.

You can read about it, and about the wonderfully gifted authors I’ll be reading with, here:

If you have nothing better to do, and are anywhere near the event, do pop in and watch me walk into uncharted territory. In a different kind of weak-kneed.