Welcome to my site!

1 Dec

Dear friends, old and new,

Welcome to my website.

I am a ‘Young Adult’ author from London, currently unpublished, writing about lots of things, from mythology-inspired fantasy, through near-future dystopian nightmares, to contemporary action adventures.

My novel, ‘The Twain’, was in the final of the 2012-13 Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers’ Prize, and received an Honourable Mention in Undiscovered Voices 2014. ‘The Hunt is On’ is a finalist in Undiscovered Voices 2016 and featured in the winners’ anthology.

Check the ‘About’ page to find out more about me and how you can get in touch.

Catherine x

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Future Female

13 Aug

Girls, geisha, cyborgs: sexy robot women in Blade Runner and beyond

I love Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. It’s the kind of movie you could never be ashamed at listing in your top five – it’s a film buffs’ film, the kind of iconic picture that comes along rarely and then lingers in the canon, setting the bar for pretty much everything that comes next. Style (the 40s-meets-80s neo-noir), music (Vangelis’ sweeping electronica), detail (the columns Scott demanded be turned upside down to show the design, much to the annoyance of the set dressers); Blade Runner is at once derivative and original, to brilliant effect. That, and it’s a thrilling story that raises a host of questions about the nature of human (and not human) existence.

But Blade Runner is also a problematic fave. The lazy use of Asian culture to create a hostile and unfamiliar ‘LA’ atmosphere is one thing. Then you have the women. Blade Runner, like many sci-fi movies (like many movies full stop) has a serious issue with its representation of females. I say females, because there are no significant human women in this story. Let that sink in. One of the most iconic movies ever made has no human women in the narrative. Where females appear, their roles are highly sexualised and suggest that the female future is both limited and bleak.

Blade Runner is not alone in this, and not the greatest offender. In fact, the original movie, read in a feminist light, offers much food for thought, despite its ultimate inability to truly challenge the oppressive capitalist patriarchy it establishes. But its influence is undeniable, and begs the question: why is our culture so unimaginative when it comes to the future female?

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Paint: an evolving relationship with makeup

29 Jan

I was fourteen and going through a messy argument with a school friend. You know the sort. The final straw for me was when she said, with real vitriol, “Your mum forced me to wear eyeliner to the disco!”

Now, you can come for many things but come for my mum and our friendship is done.

What my mum had done, generously, was offer to do our makeup for the evening. She did a nice green eyeliner for me, with mascara and a coral lip to go with my blue halter top and pleather flares. It was 2001, man. Dark times for fashion. But whatever, I looked fly and a guy I couldn’t see properly without my glasses tried to put his hand on my bum when we slow danced for thirty seconds, so I guess someone else thought so too.

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What I Read in 2017

29 Dec

It’s here! My annual reading round-up!  As I have done every year since 2008, I’ve kept a record of everything new that I read this year. My favourites are in bold. I feel like I’ve bolded a lot this year…

Some of my books this year came in my Illumicrate subscription. I absolutely love receiving this quarterly book box – it’s like having a little birthday every three months. If you have a special occasion coming up for a book lover, you can wow them with this as a gift – or, indeed, buy it for yourself.

To the books!

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About This Year

21 Dec

Content warning: mental illness

This year, I was unwell.

It’s a simple phrase, right? And if I’d had a broken leg, or the flu, or even some tropical disease, I would feel fine about admitting it. I’d brush it off. “Yeah, I lost June through August to a nasty bout of gastroenteritis. I’m taking some drugs for it. Feeling better.”

But it wasn’t a physical illness. It was a mental one, a three-month climax to a much longer suffering, that finally forced me to seek help. There are many people doing fine work to destigmatise mental illness, and attitudes are shifting, slowly, but still: it feels frightening to confess.

Hence this post. I’m not writing for sympathy – as I said above, I’m much better now. I’m writing to let you know hey, this happens, to all sorts of people, in all sorts of ways.

And I’m still here.

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The Girl and the City

11 May

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On the one hand: there are as many beautiful places in the world as grains of sand on a beach. One could spend a thousand lifetimes exploring, and never see enough.

On the other: to return to a place over time, to learn its quirks and foibles, to become its intimate – this is more than a pleasure. You grow in your knowledge of the city; you grow in yourself.

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The first time I came to Athens, I was sixteen years old, just recovering from several months of illness that had changed my body and mind quite profoundly. I had also lost pretty much all of my friends for various reasons. The trip was something of a watershed.

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Style over substance: thoughts on SS-GB

12 Mar
ssgb

Sam Riley in the BBC’s adaptation of SS-GB

Whitehall draped in swastikas. Nazis riding the King’s horses in the centre of London. Churchill’s death. These are the moments in the BBC’s new adaptation of Len Deighton’s SS-GB that are meant to give us that little thrill associated with the taboo, or perhaps a pleasant relief that history took a different turn. It’s funny, though. Given the drama’s fortunate – or unfortunate – relevance at a time when nationalism, white supremacy and even outright Nazism seem to be emboldened, what should be searingly topical instead falls rather flat.

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What I Read in 2016

26 Dec

I’ve been looking forward to doing my reading round-up for a while. I made it to 51 books this year (so far – I’m sure I’ll squeeze in another before the very end), not beating my 2015 score of 64, mostly because I was driving to work for a few months. It’s the usual mix of literary, YA and trash – but I’ve also really got into non-fiction lately and read some absolute corkers.

As always, I’ve bolded those I’d particularly recommend. It’s quite a few this time.

  1. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
  2. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (A devastating look at rape culture. Everyone needs to read this)
  3. Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman
  4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (A super fun fantasy YA – sharpshooting in the desert)
  5. The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
  6. Iron Council by China Mieville (I always think about CM’s books for years after reading them. Iron Council no exception. Fantasy with poison barbs) Continue reading