Writer and Climber

photo by Benny Hiscoke
Photo by Lee Mitchell

I am a climber and writer, with my first full length book, Slatehead: The Ascent of Britain’s Slate Climbing Scene, due to be published on June 4th 2020 by New Welsh Rarebyte.

I won the New Welsh Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting in 2019 for my creative non-fiction piece called On Slate. Winning this prize has led to publication.

I was born in Liverpool, and moved to County Durham when I was 12. Since leaving school, I’ve lived in Newcastle, Inverness, the US and Australia. I currently live in rural Norfolk with my partner and son.

I’ve spent most of my working life between pubs, kitchens, forests and building sites. I fell into writing accidentally, although I’d always wanted to be a writer since I was a lad reading Robert Westall. I wrote a blog called Climber in A Flat Land, which was just about me and my mates having a laugh, but other people encouraged me to take it further, and in 2017-8 I did the UEA’s MA in Biography and Creative Non-fiction. The mark I got wasn’t great, but what I learned has made me a far better writer.

Today, I split my working time between being an instructor and trainer at Center Parcs Elveden, and being a freelance writer.

Anyone who knows me knows I am an obsessive climber. I came to it late in life, in my mid-thirties, and as soon as I tried it, there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. I love the slate quarries of Dinorwic in North Wales, I feel at home there for reasons I find hard to explain. Slatehead, my first book, is an attempt to explain why.