Issue 11 of the Manchester Review went live the other day; the second one I've been involved in editing. It's well worth reading, and though I'm not meant to be biased (all the content is amazing, of course), I would particularly like to point you to Mothering Season, by Richard Hirst. Richard's also one of the folk behind The Longest Night (another is Booker nominee Alison Moore), a limited edition run of five Christmas ghost stories that was launched last week in the Portico Library here in Manchester. They've pretty much run out of copies now (I've got mine, though, 208/300, ha), but if ever get a chance to read it or hear one of their performances (there's one tomorrow night at Levenshulme Market), it's well worth it.
I've just gotten back from five days at Gladstone's Library, on the first of (hopefully) three retreats I'm funding with my Arts Council Ireland literature bursary. My PhD book (a short story cycle about a bunch of misfits having misadventures, and I'm saying no more lest I jinx it) got a good boost while I was there - about ten thousand words written, a story edited and two more planned. Honestly, it must be the most peaceful place to write, ever. I know various people who've been, are going, or are going to be writers-in-residence, lucky them, and you should all totally go stay there - but not at the same time as me, please! A solid block of time that was all reading, writing and being quiet: bliss.
In less news/updatey/blah info, my kid is very excited* about the Snowman (?) who's going to give her lots of presents next week, and who's to say she hasn't got it figured? May the Snowman bestow you all with booze and chocolate and very good books!
*That is excitement you're seeing; that's her Big Smile, not some sort of painful grimace. Really.