My short story, Curly Fries, is included in this month’s The Honest Ulsterman, which is a magazine for which I have a lot of fondness. It always contains high quality writing, so I am very proud to be in there, but there’s more to it than that.

Many years ago, when I first graduated from York University, in the summer of 1991, I applied for a bursary and went on an Arvon course, as my treat to myself for finishing the degree. At the time, I was writing mostly plays, but the only course still available was for poetry and prose. Grace Ingoldby taught the prose, and I now wish that I had listened better to all she had to say, and had learned more about prose writing from her, because that’s what I now concentrate on and she was a wonderful writer. That was a missed opportunity.

The poetry tutor was Robert Johnstone. He was incredibly encouraging and nurturing. We corresponded for a while after the course. At that time, he was the editor of The Honest Ulsterman, which was then a print-and-paper magazine. He sent me several complementary copies. I was daunted by the quality of the content, and don’t think I even tried to submit any of my poems (which apparently ‘showed promise’, but over several years never got any better than that).

But now I have a short story in The Honest Ulsterman, which has been relaunched as an online magazine. I could not be more pleased.

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