Jack Houston is Hackney Library’s Poet-In-Residence, and his poetry has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, Magma, Poetry London, The Rialto and Stand. His short fiction was shortlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop Prize and the BBC National Short Story Award. He talks to Write On!’s Eithne Cullen about his writing journey so far.
EC: How would you describe your writing/work to someone new to it?
JH: Edgy and dark, yet humorous. That’s what I intend, anyway.
EC: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book/work/project?
JH: Come Down Heavy was shortlisted for the National Short Story Award and read by Anne-Marie Duff on Radio 4. No Phones at the Dinner Table is on the shortlist for the Brick Labe Bookshop Prize and will be published in their anthology.
EC: What inspired you to write in the first place and what inspires you now?
JH: It was something to do. It still is!
WO: The latest issue of Write On! explores the theme of ‘A Kaleidoscope Of Colours’. The idea is that life at the moment is like looking through a kaleidoscope: ever-changing, ever-swirling patterns we must interpret and adapt to. Can you tell us a bit about how you have been adapting to the shifting landscape of this fairly challenging present?
JH: By having a baby. Possibly not to be recommended during a pandemic, but baby Emrys’ ball was rolling before all this started!
EC: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
JH: Read. Find what you like and read whom you admire. All writing is a response, like a conversation, with those who have already spoken.
EC: Tell us about your experience being shortlisted for the National Short Story Award.
JH: The BBC called much earlier in the year and my wife and I had to keep it a secret, which was very difficult indeed! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since it came out, but I’m enjoying it.
EC: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
JH: I’ve got a novel on the go, and a couple of small presses are looking at pamphlets of my poetry, so my fingers are still crossed, just like any other writer.
EC: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
JH: Aslan, from The Chronicles Of Narnia. I believe he’s meant to represent Jesus himself, and it’s always good to have the big guns in your corner.
You can find out more about Jack Houston here: jackisreading.wordpress.com and/or connect with him: @jackmmmhouston.
The Brick Lane Bookshop Prize Anthology and The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology are available to buy from
Read. Find what you like and read whom you admire. All writing is a response, like a conversation, with those who have already spoken.