Christmas Gifts for Writers

December 05, 2016 | Other News

Aki’s Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Writers

1) Foyles notebookfoylesnotebooks

You still can’t beat a good Moleskine, but these beauties new out from Foyles and designed in-house by Jeff Clark are both utterly gorgeous and very reasonably priced, ranging from £5 to £40. In a future, ideal world, I’d be opening up a well-wrapped package containing a monogrammed Smythson notebook and my very own Mont Blanc pen, but in the meantime (and given my propensity for losing/breaking things) one of these would make me very, very happy.

Have a look here 

2) Mslexia Writer’s Diarymslexiawritersdiary2017

I’ve been using the Mslexia Writer’s Diary since I was given my first as a gift in 2011, and it’s proven indispensable, both in my former freelance life for keeping track of various projects and writing submissions using the front pages, and now in my office life as a sort of bible for handy dates to relay to the writers I work with for festivals, competitions and submission dates. The generous Blank Pages section at the back is brilliant for jotting down all those ideas that you have during the day that otherwise disappear into the bittersweet nostalgia of the what-if ether (or for letting your friends doodle in – thanks Harry Gallon for the dog, balloon, book and planet), and the weekly snippets of inspiration and monthly writing workshop suggestions keep the creative machine purring.

Have a look here

3) TLC gift voucherChristmas gift vouchers

Well, I can’t go without plugging our Christmas gift vouchers. But really, if the writer in your life is working hard and seriously on a project, and you think they would benefit from an objective, professional opinion (and are equipped with the necessary mindset and thick skin: a few tips from Dr Gulara Vincent on this popular TLC blog here) then I honestly hand-on-heart believe that buying them an assessment on their story, poetry, novel-in-progress, memoir, script or screenplay is a fabulous idea. Here might even be the place to admit that I myself have submitted work to us (under pseudonym – the reader had no idea). It was nerve-wracking – I admire our writers immensely for opening themselves to constructive criticism – but incredibly helpful. We’re really happy to draw up a personalised voucher and First Class deliver it to the recipient’s home address, too, for that special touch.

Last orders for these December 20th, full details here.

4) Writing timeurban_writers_retreat_london_one_day_desks

Writers are often pushed for time to focus on their creative work, and longer retreats can be pricy (though by all means, if you can afford it, I know any writer would be delighted with the gift of an Arvon residential or a week at somewhere like La Muse). If the writer in your life is London-based, something a little more affordable might be to buy a day on the Ur
ban Writers’ Retreat
. Every time I go I’m amazed at how galvanising it is to be in a well-lit, comfortable, neutral space, with fellow writers, working quietly and seriously without distraction for a whole day.

If you can’t get to a retreat, why not rent a desk space for a day or two for your writer friend? Gemma Seltzer and I had the idea of starting up a company providing inspiring space for writers that didn’t require monthly fees and administrative hassle, but given that we haven’t been able to quite get this out of embryo stage into something more tangible (though she does now run the brilliant Write and Shine), there are other options: Vrumi is an interesting set-up for desk rental, allowing members to rent for a day or a few hours existing spaces in people’s homes. Or if you’re going away, why not donate your home to your (trusted) writer-friend? A new space can really help shake off the lethargy of sameness that can often cause writer’s block.

5) A hand-picked read from their local independent bookshoppageshackney

I’ve loved indie bookshops almost as long as I’ve loved libraries (my formative reading years were a heady mixture of books from all over the world that lined all four walls in the front room of my childhood home, those bought for me by my mum at Smiths and second-hand shops, and those I pored over during time spent at the Hanwell and West Ealing libraries on weekends while she did the shopping). I had a life-changing experience at the sadly now closed Simply Foxed bookshop when a bookseller hand-picked a book for me based on my mood that day, and have admired all of those doing great and genuinely book-based, heart-felt work: Big Green Bookshop’s social consciousness, Kirkdale’s excellent book recommendations and tweetings, and of course my own locals Pages of Hackney and Burley Fisher who also host events and support local writers. Nothing quite beats a book that someone has picked for you, and indie booksellers know their stuff. Find something new, something unexpected, something that will be perfect, and that they’ll cherish ever after.

Aki’s ‘Special Mentions’:

For the gadget geek: Astrohaus Freewrite 

For the littlest writer: Rory’s Story Cubes

For the writing student: Bird By Bird, by Ann Lamott

For short story lovers: A subscription to The Fiction Desk

For the budding poet: Adventures in Form, Ed. Tom Chivers


Look out for Joe’s Top 5 coming soon!