Thursday, 18 June 2015

Swenglish is now out!

Swenglish - a journey through everyday life is now out for real and you can read the prologue on Amazon.

And if you like it you can get your own copy. Also available in Kindle edition.

If you live in the Brighton area, Swenglish is for sale in City Books. Or contact me for a signed copy.



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Find me on something called Facebook

I'm not updating this page very often at the moment,
but follow me on Facebook for the latest news:

For the latest Swenglish updates visit the Swenglish blog:

This is what I look like nowadays:

Photo: Hanna Eliasson

Friday, 2 January 2015

Swenglish will be out in 2015!

Swenglish coverMy only resolution for 2015 is to publish the Swenglish book in English in England and have a launch party in Brighton.
It will happen. The cover is already on its way. Design: Sky Apperley.

"As a portrait of two countries the book is interesting enough. The Swedish find the English habit of carpeting toilets to be disgusting. And, despite Sweden having colder temperatures, Sweden is warmer than England, since our houses tend to be draughty and badly insulated. However, the thing I like most was the way the book sketched its characters." James Burt has written a personal review. Click here to read it.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Perils of Balcony Sleeping

Last week I made an appearance in Brighton. Not in person, but my short story-video was shown at the event Flash Lit Fiction where several stories were screened to the public. James Burt has written about the event here.

The story is inspired by a real life event. Christer Petterson, the guy who was accused of killing Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister, lived on a balcony for a while. The drummer, and I lived on a balcony in Uddebo for two nights.

The title is inspired by Pretty Tied Up (subtitled "The Perils of Rock n Roll Decadence") by Guns N' Roses. And my brother thought the video was similar to Garden of Eden by the same band.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Art of Summer

I'm gathering energy for the autumn.
By evening swimming.
By celebrating July's Eve 
(In Swedish the month of July (juli) is almost the same word as for Christmas (jul).
Life is art.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Writing process tag

Maria Jaztrzebska, a poet I admire very much, asked me to join a blog tour thing, answering a few questions about my writing, so here you go!

1) What am I working on?

At the moment I'm mostly concentrating on writing group pieces for SmutsKultur, the performance poetry group I'm part of. Our latest commission is to perform at the opening of a new library in Gothenburg - in connection to a lunch beat disco. So I'm trying to polish my lines about disco anxiety ... not being able to dance well, not having anyone to dance with etc.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I started to grow tired of the Poetry Slam format and asked a few other poets if they wanted to start a group and they all said yes. It's not that common to write poems together and I find it both challenging and rewarding. When a poem is finished we've kind of forgotten who wrote what: if you get stuck it's great to have the support from the others. We allow ourselves to be as crazy as we want to be and have a lot of fun.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love hearing poetry out loud! I love playing with the spoken word, how you can transform a line from the page to the stage and make sense of it through your voice and gestures. Sometimes I enjoy moving commas around and thinking about line breaks, but it gives me a real buzz to communicate in real time and then the pauses might be entirely different to what I wrote.

4) How does your writing process work?

When SmutsKultur write together we often decide on a theme, brainstorm a bit around it and then we go home and write individually in a shared document. After that we meet up and try to build bridges between the different parts we've written. Sometimes we have to add a lot, other times it's just a matter of moving things around. 

The next writer of the blog tour will hopefully be writer, poet and novelist Morgan C Nichols

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Double Bubble: Publication of Two New but Old Short Stories

IMG_45292010 was the year of short fiction. The year when I only wrote short stories. No, now I lied. I happened to write the odd poem and worked a bit on a novel as well, but my main occupation was to write short stories.
The funny thing is that sometimes it can take just as long to get a short story published as getting a novel published. Now I've got two at the same time. Short stories that is.
One of the stories, A Day in Her Honour, is about mourning a family member and is published by Stand Magazine. I can't find a reseller on the net, so if you want to read the story you could email me and I'll send you a copy. This is how it starts:
The other short story, To be seen or to be felt, is about growing pains and discovering certain feelings. You can read it for free here. Published by Fox Chase Review.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Brand New Interview with me in Fox Chase Review

Fox Chase Review is a great literary online magazine from the States. I've had some short fiction published by them and they've also interviewed me. I'm sure you'll find out things about me you didn't know... About my writing and my attitude towards toilets. Click here to read.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

My Writing Year 2013 and Plans for 2014

It' been an overwhelming year in many ways. Not least because I'm mainly writing in Swedish again. And I happen to live in Sweden. I haven't quite accepted it yet. I keep telling myself that nothing is forever and that I'm a citizen of the world and all that ...

I still have three main projects going on:


The project is finished and I've written the book. It's just the whole publishing business left to deal with.


Same, same but different. This novel has been finished forever and I haven't given up on the UK market, but at the moment I'm finishing the translation into Swedish and will start to approach Swedish publishers again.


And then there's poetry. Performance poetry. If it wasn't for the poetry I would tear my hair and slit my wrists. Poetry keeps me on track. Poetry gets me out of the house. Poetry makes me friends. This year I took part in the National Slam Championship in Malmö and since then I've been performing regularly at festivals, slams, open mics and other random events. I also tried my luck as a "metaphor wrestler". (Pictured).

The reason I love performance poetry so much is that it's immediate and democratic. Anyone can do anything; you can write a poem today and throw it on the world tomorrow. The novel writing can be soul destroying in comparison as it involves a lot of waiting.

So. The future. In 2014 I will do everything I can to get SWENGLISH published and I will try equally hard to get REPLACING ANGEL out there. And I will step up on every stage and fill every page. Am working on some promising collaborations. Watch out!

I also got a an author page on Facebook now. Please like if you haven't already!

Happy new year all readers!


Monday, 23 September 2013

I Won the Hat - Gothenburg Poetry Slam!

Perhaps you've already read this piece of news in Swedish with the help of Google translate, but as I don't trust translation programmes, I thought I'd better say in in my own words:

I won the first Poetry Slam for the season at Café Hängmattan in Gothenburg!

And the prize was a hat.

Or rather what was in the hat. The audience were asked to contribute with money, love and other items. Apart from some notes and coins I also got two condoms, a box of throat pastilles, matches, a piece of a keyring, a business card, a poetry book, a flowery pin and blister plasters. Very useful. Thank you!

In Sweden the slam scene is very much focused on the National Championships that takes place in May every year. But if you live in a big or biggish city it's not enough to win a single Poetry Slam to reach the Nationals. Winning last night means that I've qualified for the autumn final and if I do well in the autumn final I'll get through to the annual final and if I'm lucky then, I'll secure a place at the Nationals.

I thought that living in Sweden for a while would mean the end of performance poetry for me as I was so used to my English poetry persona Lou Ice and her material in English. But writing in Swedish and doing something different has been good for me, even though I miss the UK scene and all my poetry pals in Brighton. I can only take my off to you for keeping up the love and the words through cyberspace.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Rattle Tales Anthology 1 & 2 - Now as Kindle Edition

Rainy day and I'm re-reading the Rattle Tales Anthology 1, marveling at how good it is. Apart from my story Playing Horse about forbidden love, there's a funny story inspired by the Royal Wedding by Erinna Mettler, a sweet monster story by Joe Evans and a fantastic piece by Lonny Pop called Fake Plastic Flowers that makes you feel sick - in a good way. And there are 21 more stories just waiting to be read!

The good news is that Rattle Tales Anthology 2 has been out for a while and both anthologies are available as a Kindle Edition!

Rattle Tales is just growing and growing and I hope they'll do an event in Sweden one day!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

I've become a Metaphor Wrestler!

It's not the muscles that count in this new art form and sport ... Metaphor wrestlers battle with words.

This weekend I took part in an exclusive workshop in Gothenburg that resulted in a show where eight wrestlers improvised metaphors on stage to the beat of a live band in a dark room.

More scary than taking part in a Poetry Slam, that's for sure. But what helps is that you create a wrestling character and I am Backpackia! And Backpackia is the thumb that was on its way to Thailand but ended up at the local supermarket ...

However Metaphor Wrestling itself is going to take over the world, you can look at some cool pictures of the wrestlers on the Metaphor Wrestling website.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Nowhere To Go

Before I started my Swenglish project and hit the road, I had a massive clear out, getting rid of clothes, books and CDs, but I just couldn't give away books that were signed by the author. One of those books were Ben Graham's Nowhere To Go.

When I unpacked my few belongings in my new home in Gothenburg, the title Nowhere To Go leapt out at me, making me a bit sad. For the first time in my life I live on my own, but am far from settled. Instead of dealing with stuff like a blocked drain and a dead basil plant, I'm escaping into the world of fiction. Nowhere To Go is fiction but I suspect it is close to the author's own experience of being a bit of a drop-out from society.

Reading Nowhere to Go made me think of Kerouac's On the Road with the romantic notion of travelling and taking drugs and just hanging around, trying to get by. But this book feels closer to home. The road trip takes place in Eastern Europe and all the characters are English working class with fantastic Yorkshire accents. Vic, the narrator, is more of an observer than a participant and I especially love his walk through Prague one hung-over morning.

It's a short book, more of a novella but I think that's a strength. Instead of focusing on life back in "boring Britain" the story is basically the trip to Prague and back. Vic's reflections are thoughtful and poetic, showing the gap between the beatniks and "the neatniks". The book is worth reading alone for the brilliant description of a night out playing with national stereotypes  "France glowers over, sipping a cognac at the bar, an elegant femme on his arm, while Britain sulks on the sidelines."

I can't get enough of road trip romanticising, but perhaps it isn't the kind of book I should be reading right now. I should appreciate that I'm in a clean, comfortable and warm flat instead of "being transported in a metal ice box through a bleak inhospitable landscape on a road trip to nowhere". However I will finish with another quote from the book that kind of describe my life in general: "this temporary resting place on the outskirts of adventure". To read more about what I'm up to check out my Swenglish blog.

Nowhere To Go was originally written in 1998, but published in 2010. To read more about the book and the author visit his blog:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

At the Library of Memories: Glow Worms and Bumble Bees

Normally when I read poetry, I dip in and out of a collection, but for some reason Maria Jaztrzebska’s book At the Library of Memories, inspired me to read the poems in chronological order from front to back. And then I started to dip in and out, re-reading my favourites.

Perhaps it was the subtitles (starting with Foyer followed by Children’s Area) that seemed like different chapters to me, and made me think of a novel. And even though each poem can be read on its own, the poems become stronger when you have the full picture. A bit like looking in a photo album and connecting up memories. The collection can also be seen as a meditation on memory itself. ”By night children’s memories flicker like glow worms”.

Maria was born in Poland, but has lived most of her life in the UK and I love it how she jumps back and forth in time between her first memories of England and also thinking about her heritage. Now and again Polish words sneak their way into the poems, enhancing them. Overall I find it effortless to read the poems, the author manages to keep the poetic flow without complicating things.

There are also some very sensual poems about love as well as sexual experiences. My all time favourite is The Room of Smells, an interior garden, where the narrator is high on post sex feelings at a bus stop: ”she hates you comparing her scent to food or plants. You can’t help the way your mind runs, bumping into one fragrance after another like a great bumble bee”.

So, If you’re longing to read poetry, don’t wait. Go and find a copy of At the Library of Memories now.

Maria also has a blog.

Monday, 20 May 2013

National Poetry Slam Championship in Malmö, Sweden

The Teams in the Final: Göteborg, Malmö, Gotland & Huddinge
Amazing performances! Brilliant lyrics! Extraordinary people! No, I’m not talking about Eurovision Song Contest. I’m talking about what happened in Malmö in Sweden the weekend before Eurovision. I’m talking about the National Poetry Slam Championship. (SM = Svenska Mästerskapen = Swedish Championship)

I was happy to be one of 48 poets competing for 3 days and that I didn’t go through to the final 8 didn’t upset me too much. The point is not the point – the point is the poetry as the US poet Allan Wolf once pointed out. I had fun on stage and people found me entertaining. Just to be at the Nationals was a great honour as you had to win or come second at a local slam to be able to compete nationally. Above I’m performing a poem about shyness and the fear of saying hello.

Jamila Woods & Robbie Q Telfer
What I enjoyed most was to perform and watch the team pieces – there were 12 teams consisting of at least 3 people that were up on stage together. (I was part of the Växjö team.) You get it all: drama, a bit of singing, comedy, tragedy – and above all poetry. On top of that there were guest poets from Chicago: Jamila Woods & Robbie Q. Telfer, and for the brave ones there was an improv slam, a speed slam and a “Eurovision” slam where you were allowed background dancers and producers. Other highlights included the release of Oskar Hanska's poetry video and "the metaphor wrestling show".

"Metaphor Wrestling" 
If only media would focus half as much on the National Poetry Slam Championship as they do on Eurovision, I believe the world would be a better place. In Eurovision you’re not allowed to sing any political messages – when you’re poetry slamming no subject is too big or too small. It’s hard to write a good political poem, but some people are “naturally” political, like the National Slam Winner, Nino Mick, who is transgender and often writes about LGBTQ topics.

I find the Swedish Poetry Scene very open-minded and am truly impressed by the quality of the poems. I feared that I would stop performing poetry if I decided to stay in Sweden for a while, that it wouldn’t be possible without the support from the Brighton crowd that I’ve been part of for so many years, but now I feel inspired to write poems in both Swedish and English. And on a national level, I believe the Swedish Poetry Slam scene is better established than the English scene. As far as I know the National competitions aren’t as big in the UK. Next year the European Slam Championship is coming to Malmö!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Dress Rehearsal before the Swedish National Championships in Poetry Slam

Today I'm travelling to Malmö for the Swedish National Poetry Slam Championships. Last night my team (Jens Börjesson, Ann Dahlström & Erica Engdahl) did a dress rehearsal at Acoustic Stage in Växjö and it was all good fun trying out our team piece!

Photo: Marie Nilsson


Monday, 29 April 2013

The Swenglish Project is going to be a Documentary

For a whole week I've been followed by a film maker from Brighton & Hove Community TV that is making a documentary about my Swenglish project.  
Read more here.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Poetic Hairdresser

Most writers and poets can't make a full time living from their writing. I know poets who work at schools and I know poets who work for the police. And last time I was in Gothenburg I met a poetic hairdresser. Apart from writing poems he also cuts hair.

Thanks to the Swenglish-project, a tax return and support from family and friends I've been able to be a full time writer for over a year, but now it's time for me to get a job that pays the bills.

Is someone tempted to employ me as their hairdresser? If not - just give me another job, any job. This is my CV in alphabetical order (everything I've ever been paid for):

after school club assistant, author, babysitter, barmaid, blogger, café staff, camping host, columnist, compere, dinner lady, dishwasher, editor, events coordinator, flyerer, lecturer, library assistant, library officer, photographer, poet, poetry coach, postal worker, receptionist, reviewer, shop assistant, Swedish teacher, translator writer, workshop leader


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Towards the National Poetry Slam Championship in Sweden!

Today I took part in a poetry slam in Växjö, Sweden. I came second which means I'll be one of four people representing my county in the National Poetry Slam Championship in Malmö in May!

I'm super happy as I haven't been on stage in Sweden for years. Almost all my material is in English, but I wrote three poems in Swedish especially for this competition. You can watch some of my poems on YouTube.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Punk industrial hard rocker with attitude is still alive!

My debut novel "Punk industrial hard rocker with attitude" (Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd) is still very much alive.

Today I visited a college in Sweden and talked about the background of the book, why and how I wrote it.

It all started with a short story I'd written when I did a writing course. It was about a girl called Amanda who wanted to have a piercing done by her older punk friend Sid, but he refused to do it, said it was too close to the eye. In the opening chapter of "Punk industrial hard rocker with attitude", Amanda the main character wants her nose pierced by her older female friend Kim (Sid had to change both name and sex!), but Kim says no and helps her to colour her hair instead.

I also revealed that the novel has no plot. But I let Amanda overcome some traumas that pushed the story forward. The trauma of experiencing the first piss-up, the first kiss, the first sex, the first boyfriend. I thought those things were very traumatic when I went to school and I still feel very uncomfortable walking into a school building. Even the teachers could relate to what I was talking about, confirming the unwritten laws about who's popular and who's not.

I didn't have much time to talk about my current book project, Swenglish, but you can read all about it here.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

On the Road in Sweden and England

I've been on the road for most of the year because of my Swenglish project. Now I've only got a week and a half left and still don't know where to settle, perhaps I'll keep moving back and forth between Sweden and England for the rest of my life ...

The other day I watched On the Road (based on Jack Kerouac's classic novel) with Swenglish host number 29. Even though the book is better of course, I was positively surprised by the film. And I was reminded of one of the reasons why I started to write ... The main character Sal Paradise says:

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 

When I grew up I was a very quiet and shy girl, but in my teens I was drawn to the so-called mad people described in the book, and I loved and still love reading books about mousy people following more colourful people on great adventures. Apart from Sal Paradise following Dean Moriarty in On the Road, I loved reading about Patrick Keane following Will Savage  in Jay McInerney’s The Last of the Savages.

I would appreciate if someone could recommend books where mousy girls follow colourful women on great adventures. In my debut novel ("Punk industrial hard rocker with attitude") the main character Amanda kind of follows her older friend Kim, and I've realised that most of the stuff I write is based on this notion of meeting a person that will bring some danger into your life and changing it.   

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wham Bam Slam

This spring and early summer I've been involved in Shake the Dust - a poetry slam  project run by spoken word organisation Apples & Snakes.

My role in the project was to assist magnificent poetry coach Michael James Parker and together we worked with a team of eight young people from a school in Farnborough.

Shake the Dust is a national project and is part of the Cultural Olympics in London. This Monday it was time for the regional poetry slam final in Southampton where our team was competing against four other schools in the South East of England.

Watching the youngsters on stage was much more nervwracking than being on stage myself ... And when the winners were announed I was in tears. I couldn't believe it ... our team aka The Awkward Squad won! I couldn't believe it, not because they weren't good, but because ALL the teams were good. So much power, so many feelings. Next week we're going up to the national final in London to represent the whole of the South East.

I'm also the Digital Champion for my region which means I represent the South East by blogging. You can read about the final and some more of my blog posts here.

Funnily enough my title during the Shake the Dust project has been "shadow poetry coach" which suits me as I'm a shadow in other people's everyday life through my Swenglish project.  The idea of Swenglish was to give up my room, my job and my usual activities in order to take part in someone else's life, but Shake the Dust has been good for me, to go away about once a week to do poetry workshops has been a chance to "be myself" for a day. 

You can read what I'm up to with Swenglish here.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Great Book About Being an Obsessive Fan

This year I’ve mainly read non-fiction to get inspiration for the Swenglish book I’m writing. The latest book I read is I was a teenage Toyah fan by Chris Limb.

Growing up being a massive Guns N’ Roses fan I could relate to Chris’s story of being an obsessive follower of a music artist. He writes extremely well, doesn’t waste his words and take us on an epic journey from being a nerdy 14-year-old to becoming part of Toyah’s unofficial fan club Angels & Demons and finally being asked to run Toyah’s official fan club, Tellurian.

I haven’t been that lucky with Guns N’ Roses. The closest I’ve come to meeting Axl Rose is seeing him on stage at Sweden Rock two years ago. However Chris’s story is very inspiring and life-affirming. Even if you’re not a Toyah fan you’ll hopefully get a lot out of reading the book as Chris reveals a lot of exciting episodes from his teenage years. He might be have been an obsessive fan, but was never a creepy stalker. I’m also struck by his accurate observations about how you obtained information about your idols before the time of Internet.

Coming-of-age combined with music what more could you wish for!

The book is available here and Chris has written an interesting account on Kindle sales here.

To see what I'm up to on my Swenglish journey please click here.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Rattle Tales Anthology Out Now

Today I found it hard to get out of bed because I was reading the brilliant Rattle Tales anthology featuring stories from very fine writers such as Starlings author Erinna Mettler, and yes my story Playing Horse is in there too.

This week I'm having a break from my Swenglish project, so was happy I could go along to the Rattle Tales event in the Brighton Fringe Festival. What I like best about the event is that it's interactive, the audience is allowed to ask questions the author has to answer on the spot. We were treated to stories about insect sex, pear trees, catholic schools, human bears, modern plague and persuasive sellers.

I don't know if I'm as persuasive as the characters in Susanna Quinn's story but the Rattle Tales anthology is on sale here.

To follow my Swenglish adventure please click here.