What are you showcasing at ESAF 2016?
I am the president of the QMU Writer’s Society and we’re going to have an exhibition at the Biscuit Factory of written work from some members of the society. Each member will showcase two pieces of work and they will all be written using a technique called cold press which I have been teaching for the past year. In conjunction with that, I will also be doing a workshop teaching the cold press method and it's open to everyone.
What writers inspire your style of writing?
I like Oscar Wilde and darker classics and when I became a teenager I started sourcing work by transgressive writers. I primarily write transgressive fiction. Douglas Coupland, he has a way of taking the topics or themes that would make most people feel uncomfortable and he would completely put it in your face and force you to experience it. Things like ultraviolence, different crime themes, sexualtiy and just things that are taboo in society. My greatest inspiration of all time is a writer, who has disappeared into obscurity, called Will Christopher Baer. He wrote three books and disappeared off the face of the planet. His fourth book was up for pre-order and his website was doing great and then nothing happened. The last message he put out was that there had been a delay with the publishers it would be out soon. Nobody ever heard from him again, he was already quite reclusive. Nobody knows where he is, if he’s alive or if he's dead. Nobody has ever heard from him again. His work was great. I write transgressive fiction but I also write modern noir and he reinvented noir. He only created three books but out of them three books he created a new genre.
When you have an idea for a story where do you go next in terms of setting it out?
When I'm doing a short story, I usually have a broad idea floating about in my head and I try not to overthink it. I find that if people have a broad idea and they start writing it out in their head, every detail every character, ages of the character, the story is already written. It's already in your head. And when you start to write it you start making excuses. Some writers don't spend enough time writing, they spend all their time planning on writing and then don't actually write. I just usually like to start with a really broad idea and a few character names then i don't overthink it, I just start writing.
Why was it important for you to showcase your work at ESAF?I think because the society has only been up for two years and for a while it wasn't publicised very well. The first thing I noticed is that we needed to be pushing out more work. ESAF showcases work from every university in Edinburgh and QMU has a really performing arts department. In terms of visual arts, we really are the only group so I really wanted to push students to showcase their work. Bringing this to ESAF helps to expand our work but it also gives writers a chance to be part of something they wouldn't normally. Written work isn't always part of a visual exhibition. I wanted to make it a collective experience that everyone can enjoy together.