Time for bed

I’m excited to be working on a new short-story commission for the marvellous Comma Press – this time for an anthology on the topic of sleep. For my story, which will focus on the links between hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) and depression, I am collaborating with Prof. Edward Watkins, of Exeter University’s School of Psychology, a leading expert on mood disorders.

We are among a number of writers and consultants signed up by Comma, a Manchester-based independent publisher, to work together on a range of sleep-related issues for the anthology, funded by the Wellcome Trust and scheduled for publication later in the year.

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When I read the list of topics I was particularly interested in hypersomnia, which apparently occurs in 40% of depressed young adults and 10% of older adults. The link between mood disorder and sleep pattern is a relatively new field of research but there is already plenty of evidence that the two are much more inter-related than previously believed.

The idea for this anthology is that the specialist explains the ‘science’ to the writer, who incorporates it into a piece of fiction which helps to illuminate the topic for a lay reader. Each story is then accompanied by a commentary, written by the academic consultant. I’m currently researching the topic with the help of Prof. Watkins and will then begin planning and writing the short story.

The anthology is the latest in a series by Comma Press in which writers and specialists collaborate. For my two previous commissions – one on artificial intelligence and another on political protest – I worked with research academics at Manchester Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University.

One story has already been published – The Sayer of the Sooth, in Beta-Life: Stories from and A-Life Future (October 2014) – and the other anthology, due out shortly, will include my story, Withen, about the Battle of Orgreave.

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