Updated June 2020
I’ve spent my whole, remembered life addicted to story, whether as reader, listener or writer. So the idea, explored in a recent work of critical theory, that storytelling isn’t simply a skill humanity has developed for its own diversion but a species adaptation that’s hard-wired to our evolutionary progress, makes exciting sense to me. According to the theory, creative expression of all kinds acts on our evolutionary DNA, forging and reforging us; we actually improve on ourselves as a species through play, make believe, creation and exploration of our imaginations. Whether the theory’s right or not, reading and writing fiction has felt important to me – transformative – since I was a child.
Although I started my writing career as a journalist and then historian, my switch to television writing offered me the chance to tell stories of our times – something that I saw then, as now, as a unique privilege. I was one of a handful of women who was writing regularly for British television in the early 90s, and I’ve written something like 75 scripts since then, mostly for crime drama series.
In between, I’ve talked about and taught fiction writing and journalism to young people and adults, mentored new writers, worked as a script and story consultant, and on series and script development projects with all the main broadcasters and some of the best known independent production companies.
Right now, I’m blogging a bit, trying to finish a first novel, developing two TV projects and working to give something back to the profession through the Society of Authors, where I’m ex-chair of the Scriptwriters Group and currently a member of the Mentorship Scheme committee.
More importantly, I’m also trying to re-educate myself about race and racism in Britain, both historically and today. Please read my blog about this if you have time. Even as we’re coping with the Covid pandemic crisis, I believe that there is no issue more urgently in need of addressing in our country than this.