the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Unusual connection

I received a direct message on Twitter this week from Rob Casey, a stand up poet, writer and performer who lives in Bridport. He teaches creative writing at Exeter College and is the Bard of Exeter City Football Club. While he was watching the first match of the season for Manchester City (against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Man City won 3-1), he noticed something about the kit that was relevant to me.

Training kit
Away kit

What do you notice? Love a bit of paisley, I do. Indeed I think the tear drop pattern is so great I named my first published book Paisley Shirt. It is a collection of short fiction and the title story is about a Polish man returning to visit a neighbour in the UK who helped to look after him as a child. With twenty-six other stories in this smart, square book there’s a lot of fiction to enjoy. Novelist and short story writer, Maria Donovan kindly endorsed the collection and says the stories are ‘sensitive, surprising, unnerving, tender and crucial.’ It’s easy to get a kindle copy or a paperback by popping over to Amazon. And, if you’re interested, you can read more about the history of the paisley pattern here.

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Never Give Up


Pasiley Shirt Image

Cover Image for ‘Paisley Shirt’ photo credit: menswear market

I’ve read lots of post about How I Got Published and although I know how deeply maddening it can be to hear about another’s success, I feel obliged after all the pitfalls to share my experience with you.

I have four novels sitting in a drawer, two of which are completely unpublishable while the others may see the light of day when I get around to re-writing. I have been on my writing journey for eight years: writing regularly, attending writing festivals, having one-to-ones, keeping the feelers out, updating my blog and becoming a whizz on social media. I must have entered hundreds of competitions, and enjoyed a couple of notable wins (my name was listed in Elle magazine once). I briefly enjoyed representation but that was until my agent took maternity leave and decided not to return to work.

One of the upsides of enduring so much failure is that I resorted to seeking professional help by joining a writing course that led to a qualification. After four years of part time study I am now on the verge of changing my title to Doctor and I am looking forward to graduating in the summer! This has also enabled me to seek employment with a university where I will work with students of creative writing.

The novel written as part of my studies is still seeking a home, but in the meantime, I have signed a contract with a small independent publisher to have a collection of my flash fiction published. Paisley Shirt contains 27 stories with characters and situations to offer a range of perspectives on what it is like to live in our world.

It is wonderful to have a publisher who believes in my work and a thrill to think I will have a published book at last. It won’t bring me riches, but it is acknowledgement of the progress I’ve made. The mantra remains: never give up.






Paisley Shirt

Paisley shirt

Examples of my short fiction have appeared in The Best of CaféLit 2012 and The Best of CaféLit 3. Now the publisher, Chapeltown Books, has agreed to publish a collection of my flash fiction. Paisley Shirt takes its title from a flash fiction story about a surprise relationship in middle age.  The Paisley Shirt collection will appear alongside other  flash fiction collections published by Chapeltown Books including January Stones 2013 by Gill James and From Dark to Light and Back Again by Allison Symes.

I will keep you updated as the work progresses.