What I’ve been up to



My whole working life is about words. I started out as an in-house ad agency creative; now I work freelance, both with agencies and direct with clients. I’ve studied literature and written academic essays; now I write novels and teach creative writing.

What holds it all together is the instinct for story – as profoundly important for a good business as a good novel. I really enjoy getting to the heart of both.


Freelance writer      

To date

In 2015 I was asked to rewrite all Brunel University’s subject brochures to a tight deadline. The project was challenging on lots of levels, but I thoroughly enjoyed the learning process of getting to grips with subjects way out of my (arts-based) comfort zone!

I’ve written a lot of case studies this year, where again the trick is to find the story and tell it well. Subjects have included the National Gallery, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Serco consultants.

Previous clients include: Cooper Bearings; Arthur J Gallagher; Greenpeace; BBC; New Zealand Tourism Board; Iceland; Kia Cars; Dr Martens; Pret A Manger; Kelloggs.

Creative writing tutor

 To date

I teach a ten-week course based on my Creative Writing MA, designed to help would-be novelists get going. I run follow-up workshops and mentor individual writers, helping them develop and complete their books. I have also co-written an online creative writing course for a major publisher.

I give workshops in schools and universities designed to get students excited about writing. I’m particularly interested in what stops young people feeling they can write, and in helping them find ways to overcome these blocks.

* Just wanted to say how amazing today was! We had a great time and enjoyed your company. It was refreshing to learn so much in such a short amount of time.

I am so inspired about copy! Thank you so much, Such a great day.

JD, 2nd year BA Advertising student, Bucks New University.

My Manifesto is one of the things I worked on with JD’s class.

My own writing

I am currently working with an editor on my own first novel. The second novel is in progress. I have published short stories and poetry. Non-fiction pieces are here.



Blue Inc Creative


I co-ran Blue Inc from a dusty office above an Italian tailor’s on Dean Street in Soho, on the corner where the Soho Hotel now sits. Working with an art director I freelanced for most of the big direct marketing agencies of the time, including Ogilvy, Rapier and Leo Burnett, and also worked directly with clients.


Copywriter & Creative Director

McCarthy, Cosby, Paul, Berners Street, London W1


I ended up with responsibility for the creative department’s output at a rocky time for the company. It taught me a lot about how businesses work. Clients included WWF and Vauxhall Motors.



DDM Advertising Eastbourne Terrace London W2              


Gathering more experience with major clients such as British Airways and Thomas Cook.



MSW Rapp & Collins Baker Street London W1                                 


This is where I learned the business. I was lucky to be surrounded by very experienced creatives and loved watching and working with pre-digital production pros too. Clients included the TSB and Carphone Warehouse.



MA Creative Writing 2008           

Birkbeck College, London University

Published short stories, gave public readings, acquired a literary agent


BA Humanities 2002

Birkbeck College, London University

Art history/film/postmodernism/postcolonial literature


MA English Literature 1989

Queen Mary College, London University

Dissertation on repetition and dialogue in the work of Samuel Beckett


BA English Literature 1986

Royal Holloway College, London University

The works, but mostly 20th century



I live in a great part of Kentish Town where neighbours talk to each other, and ideas and skills are shared. Each year I help a group of local young people, aged around 6 to 14, put together a magazine for our street party. I also lead a group – Friends of Fortess Road – set up to support our independent shops and last year organized a ‘photograph your local shop’ competition for nearby secondary school pupils which has developed into an annual project for the school’s gifted artists.



I asked a few of the people I’ve worked with to say a bit about me. As you can see, I’ve worked with some very nice people.

I’ve worked with Alison many times over the years. We’ve worked together on small tactical projects and big pitches, both of which she approaches with an unerring instinct for understanding the consumer. She has a talent for simplifying the most complex problems and delivering both concepts and copy that completely meet the brief, in any discipline.

At the heart of this is her ability to gently question what is unclear until she has complete clarity on what is required, giving account handlers and clients reassurance that she understands their problem and has produced the optimum solution (she’s great in front of clients).

It’s not often that you get to work with someone with so much experience across so many industry sectors. I struggle to think of many instances that I would not recommend Alison for a project.



* I would not hesitate to recommend Alison. A consummate professional with an enquiring mind – a rare and valuable quality – who works to schedule and budget every time. A joy to work with.



* Taking one of Alison’s writing classes is fun, informative and challenging. It made me write; but also read more widely, more often and with more thought and enjoyment. Alison creates a warm and friendly environment where reading out work in progress isn’t scary and writing is celebrated and encouraged. And the coffee is great too! 



* As a writer looking to gain competency and confidence, I found Alison’s classes struck exactly the right note. She offers encouragement and support on the one hand, and on the other, clear and thoughtful advice on how to improve your writing. She draws on her own experience as a writer and a reader to inspire students, and effortlessly creates an atmosphere of hard work and good fun. 




Work samples

I’m a writer who loves telling stories. I’ve been lucky enough to work with lots of clients who recognise the importance of well-chosen words – and the impact powerful storytelling has on their customers and on their business.


I have so much respect for the amazing craftspeople who work in the media. This job for the BBC was a treat to research and write.





I wrote for Iceland at a time when the brand was reinventing itself as an irreverent Mums’ Champion. This ‘Fanzine’ was designed to demonstrate their new positioning and tone of voice to their own people.  IMG_2899




The data people had done their job and wanted to target the newly-retired. They knew women tended to make travel decisions in this age group so I wrote a travel diary from the point of view of a 60something. Obviously something of a challenge, but with much imagining I think I just about pulled it off…(!)





The chaps who launched Cartesian are huge brain-boxes when it comes to technology. But they’re also interested in the arts, sport, history, philosophy… So naming themselves after Rene Descartes made perfect sense. They employed similarly wide-brained young technologists, and the tone of voice was designed to reflect their intelligent but relaxed approach.


Cartesian text


Pret had booked advertorial space in the Telegraph and needed a last minute filler…




There are so many good causes to write about. I’ve written for Greenpeace and WWF in the past, but sometimes working for a really small, committed organisation with a strong, niche remit is the most satisfying of all.