Paul Houghton

Paul Houghton

I have been writing ever since my English teacher encouraged me in junior school. After studying Fine Art at Exeter, I did a Creative Writing MA at 'Bradbury Lodge' (UEA). I have written a novel, Harry's Last Wedding (Betty Trask Award 1989), several short stories (published in periodicals such as The Fiction Magazine, Panurge, Cutting Teeth, Gutter - and anthologies such as 'You Are Here' edited by Billl Broady (UK) and most recently in 'Magical' edited by Kelly Ann Jacobson (US). I've also written screenplays, a stage play and feature journalism.

Currently I work as a creative writing lecturer at Staffordshire University and am working on another novel as well as stories. I am primarily interested in literary/genre fiction, the novel and especially the short story: from mopbucket realism and magical realism to the divinely weird. A few favourite writers out of the very great many include: Beryl Bainbridge, Ray Bradbury, Jane Bowles, Truman Capote, Angela Carter, Celine, Marco Denevi, Michel Faber, Tim Gautreaux, Mary Gaitskill, Ellen Gilchrist, Flannery O'Connor, Bernard Maclaverty, early McEwan, Patrick McGrath, Alan Silitoe, Muriel Spark, Jean Stafford, Gertrude Stein, Lisa Tuttle, Nathanael West and Tobias Wolf - to name just a few! I like a few victorians too, and perpetrators of the gothic...

My advice to new and seasoned readers and writers is to find your own fantastic writers and don't depend on the media that trades on all the same names in an-all-too-often mortifying mainstream. As Agnes Owens said: 'I'd rather be hooker than win the Booker!'


Paul Houghton in 60 seconds

When did you start writing?

1984 Worcestershire

What do you love about short stories?

short, sharp, stark, surreal, rich, full of life and wonder. Open-ended!

Do you write in other forms?

articles, scripts, etc

What distracts you from writing?

other work, I threw out the TV long ago: no more orange people!

Outside of writing, what are your other passions?

visual art, film, the great outdoors, cult artists of many kinds (music, etc)

What is your favourite book?

Secret Ceremony by Marco Denevi

Who are your favourite writers?

Angela Carter, Tim Gautreaux and Harper Lee

Where is your dream location?


What one item would you put into Room 101?

90% of TV

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Find your own path, your own voice, your own inspiration: don't for a minute be dictated too! We are governed by FOOLS!

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