Writers and wine: uncorking two pleasures at once

You can’t become a wine connoisseur just by scattering words like oenophile around. You have to study the grapes, the terroir, the methods. Here’s what happened when I took the first step towards becoming a wine buff at a ‘Writers and Wine’ workshop at the new wine museum in Bordeaux. If you ever want to […]

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Amy Liptrot plays Glastonbury

At Glastonbury this year, I talked to best-selling author Amy Liptrot about the success of The Outrun, how to write a memoir and what she’s writing next.   Amy Liptrot’s book, The Outrun, has been an extraordinary success. A Sunday Times Top Ten best-seller, it won The Wainwright Prize and has just been awarded the […]

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A first look at Hull, 2017 City of Culture

Before my first visit to Hull, I knew very little about the city. I was aware it has white telephone boxes because it has its own telephone system, that it should be underwater because most of the land is significantly below sea level, and that Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt from Everything But The Girl […]

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How to become a charity copywriter

The other day, someone asked for my advice on how to become a charity copywriter. That inspired me to write this blog. So thanks for your question, Martha! Here are a few ideas to help you get into writing for charities as a freelancer. Narrow down the field First of all, ask yourself what kind […]

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Storytelling techniques for bold and curious minds

Creative fuel from The Story I came away from The Story 2017 with my head full of stories – about hay fights on Southwark Bridge, a pickled pig foetus in a jar, robots that draw faces, banana phones and survivalist bunkers in Texas. This annual festival of stories and storytelling is always a joy, providing […]

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The art of the webinar

So you want to run a webinar? How do you teach people you can’t see? I’ve been running writing workshops for years and have always relied on the power of being able to observe people, address them directly and engage with them. But it’s a whole new ballgame when you’re running a webinar. A webinar […]

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Visit to the Design Museum, Copenhagen

On a recent visit to Copenhagen, I made a pilgrimage to the Danish Museum of Art & Design. My mission was to get a fix of Hans Wegner chairs, breathe in some Verner Panton hypercolours and drool over a bit of vintage Bang & Olufsen. It delivered on every count, with a few surprises. First […]

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How to win a D&AD Writing for Design award

How to win a D&AD Writing for Design award Last week a clutch of copywriters gathered in the basement of the Truman Brewery to judge the D&AD Writing for Design category. Led by foreman Nick Hynes, our jury included Ben Afia, Katie Ewer, Dave King, Afy Nou and Claudia Ruane. We’d been instructed to be […]

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What Ronnie Corbett can teach us about storytelling

When I was a child, I was unaware of what a master storyteller Ronnie Corbett was. I just saw a small man dwarfed by a huge chair, who seemed overly fond of golfing jumpers and shaggy dog tales. But when I was researching an article on hypnotic presentations for The Guardian, I started to see […]

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7 Things I Learned at The Story 2016

The Story, a one day conference about stories and storytelling, is something special. I’ve been going for the last few years and now I don’t even check out who’s going to be speaking. I just book. It’s always a day that fizzes and crackles with inspiring people telling extraordinary stories. This year was no exception. […]

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How to get over writer’s block

Last week I was running some writing workshops to help people write blogs and articles for their company intranet. One theme that emerged over and over from the day was “How do I get started?” And that’s understandable. Even professional writers have days when we look blankly at the blinking cursor and don’t know how […]

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4 ways to use poetry in copywriting

How can you smuggle poetic techniques into business writing? Rishi Dastidar gave an eloquent demonstration at this year’s Wordstock festival, where a flock of copywriters gathered to celebrate their love of writing. He called his session ‘A poet’s guide to killing’ and, in classic storytelling mode, said that he’d tell us what that meant at […]

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How to make an impact with charity copywriting

What effect do the words you use have on your fundraising success? Here we investigate the impact of good charity copywriting. At the last count, there were over 195,000 charities in the UK, all looking to attract support, donations and – wherever possible – life-long allegiance to their cause. Whether charities succeed or fail in […]

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Jungian branding for beginners

Jungian branding. So what does that mean, exactly? Branding where you analyse your client’s dreams to choose the colour of the logo? Where you place the product in broad daylight to see what kind of shadow it casts? Or perhaps where you fling open the doors to your unconscious mind and let that decide the […]

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Nick Drake in Northumberland

A pint of fruit cider and a dish of cockles It’s mid-afternoon on a Wednesday in February and I’m sitting in a village pub by a station a few miles outside Newcastle. A man wearing black jeans and a smart jacket walks in, looks around the silent, almost empty bar, and asks: “Who died?” Then […]

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