Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

Words will get written here and some videoblogs will appear. You don't have to look but it would be nice if you did.

Ship Notes March 27, 2012

I’ve managed to flex my writing muscle in several ways on different projects, each beneficial in their own way. Twitter, whether you like it or not, features heavily in this flexing. It anchors me down to be as precise and clear cut about what I want to say due to the character restriction. Regardless of content it’s a great way to coerce yourself to be more aware of editing. Plus you can see how other people do it too. It’s not for everyone, but I love it. It’s a case of doing things together, en force.

This has hung in my dentist since I can remember. And I've been going to him as long as I can remember.


This also ties in neatly with Ship Notes. I approached a good friend and fellow creative, Neil Fox, about embarking on a collaboration. It was decided that we would do this. And then the project came about very organically. Myself and Neil have created a fictional relationship out of post-it notes left for one another on a fictional fridge. We’ve conversed in short pithy and poignant post-it notes for an entire year. The relationship we’ve crafted has had glorious moments of beauty and also shitty pockets of malaise through the text. And nothing has been planned. The only thing we were certain on was the fact each note was going to be written on a post-it note so therefore couldn’t be too long, and that we would do it for a year. No stress on how many we had to do, both Neil and myself are busy folks, just await the email in the inbox and respond when you can. The importance on what we wrote was significant. One moment one would be the crutch, the other the victim of selfishness. It really was quite powerful to experience. And when you read the thread back it kicks you around because they are glimmers of a relationship, part of a bigger picture. Things are mentioned that never resurface, recurring moments weedle their way when you least expect it. And all in all it’s a collage of a relationship that both myself and Neil have collectively and instinctively explored. And wow it’s been a real kick to the gut sometimes. The power of a few sentences or even a few words has really made me hone into the language I use in other areas. It’s made me boil down the essence of my long-winded conversations and made me pin it to the mast to act as someone else’s springboard.

Found this and various other cues glued into a book on the shelf in The Arcola.

It’s a project that has left me smarting at times and also completely enamoured. Many times I’ve opened the email to find myself breathless at the next chapter or laughing incredulously. It really has felt like a relationship that I’ve been on call for when the email pops up, an emotional rollercoaster in every way. And I cannot wait to show them off, but we’re not ready yet. We have two brilliant photographers, Laura Wood and Ben Woodall, who are embarking on a similar journey using our notes. But when we’re ready, you’ll be the first to know.



Shifting March 13, 2012

The last couple years I’ve been doing lots of small things, lots of things that have amounted to more things and things that I have been proud of. Things. Yeah, them things. But for the last year I’ve been aching to concentrate on my full length plays because that’s what I’m in this to do, right? Right. I haven’t had time because each year seems to get busier with my career and choices. That’s why I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy.


So. I’ve been mulling on this idea since I asked my dad, “if I wrote a play about lorry drivers, would you come to the theatre?” He promptly laughed and said “yeah, I suppose so“. Two years later and I’ve finally got a finished version of the script that I’m happy to send out and for people to read. A former (unfinished and horribly clunky) version of the script, which is called Shifting, has been sent around and got great responses:


“This script immediately brings us into a marginal roadside world seldom portrayed on stage and screen. Vivid empathic characters and character-driven dialogue support the script’s ability to mine the drama from seemingly mundane relationships… Overall, I enjoyed this script and the fresh world it portrays.”
Hannah Rodger
New Writing Co-ordinator
BBC Writersroom


“A fascinating world drawn with real compassion and wit and humanity.”
Simon Stephens


“Interesting ensemble piece exploring the lives of long distance truck drivers and their families. The writer captures wonderfully the colloquial comic and brash language of this world creating a setting populated with interesting and original characters.”
Royal Court
Literary Department


“… Here at the National, we don’t normally give formal feedback, but I did want to pass on some thoughts from our readers. We felt Shifting was the most successful, and we enjoyed its sweetness, truthfulness and intimacy…”
Clare Slater
Assistant Literary Manager
National Theatre

It also placed well in the Verity Bargate Award (4th round) and I can safely say it’s the most epic story I’ve taken on in terms of staging, amount of characters and narrative. But I’m proud of it. I’m tempted to say it’s the best thing I’ve written, but I think every writer says that about the current thing they’re working on. Who cares, I’m chuffed I’ve finished it. And thank you to those who read it and gave feedback, they know who they are.



Alongside finishing this and starting the turbulent process of sending it out to people, I’ve made a strong mental decision to stick at home and spend less money and more time on writing all the ideas I have. This means not going into London unless I absolutely have to. Which does make me a little sad, but I kind of have no choice. There are books I’ve wanted to read since I can remember, films I’ve not opened for even longer and scripts I want to rework. I’m a funny fucker when it comes to time, mostly because it scares the crap out of me. But also because I always say I’ll do something tomorrow and I never do. And I mean I NEVER do and I hate that. I’ve now made the difficult decision and in the longterm I’m happy, it feels good. This was a different script for me. Each script is challenging me at every turn. If I compare each script I’ve written in the long form they differ drastically and this excites me. I’m constantly challenging myself and letting the story have its way with me and not mangling it to please anyone else. This script I’ve just finished reminded me of why I want to do this. Now I’ve just got to get people to read it. 


Can You Spare a Story For Nascent Collage? February 18, 2012

I’ve been involved with a project called Nascent Collage for roughly about 2 years now. There are three of us involved: Mary-Anne Pennington and Natalia Wilkoszewska. It’s how I met illustrator Natalia who I’ve worked with on Simone and our newly started project, David. Nascent Collage is something that’s been bubbling under the surface as it’s more of a longer project which will result in a book. You can find out more about my co-collaborators on the blog: http://nascentcollage.wordpress.com/
Nascent Collage is about recapturing the stories of childbirth and making them more than just a time and a location. Sharing these stories allows us to engage with the concept of motherhood as not only an individual experience, but a universal connection. By illuminating the diverse cultural stories in one collection we’re allowing our stories to carry on being told and remembered. Unlike other childbirth books and projects, our focus is on the emotional response rather than the scientific. We’re listening to mothers tell us their stories and passing them on to other mothers around the world.
The book will be a collection of stories from around the world and each will have their own illustration. We’re in the process of collating stories from all over the world so we can capture as many different cultures and experiences of birth as we can. This is where we’re asking you if you can help. Are you a mother reading this that would like to take part? Do you know of anyone who would be willing to share their story with us? We’re after the further flung places rather than in the UK at the moment. We’ve got a brilliant story from a woman who was a surrogate mother for a gay couple who has written a letter to her daughter. We’ve also covered Russia, some areas of the US and are in the process of securing a story from Africa.
Our goal is to create and publish the collection as a book. If anyone would like to offer their services with regards to that or lend their support we would happily listen and welcome your thoughts.
For an example of a story and matching illustration please click here.


Our Objectives
– To connect people by providing a collection of intimate stories that detail the one unique primary event each human shares in common.
– To illuminate the diversity of different backgrounds and cultures with a collection of stories from around the world.
– To provide the opportunity for people to appreciate the uniqueness of each birth.
Our Unique selling proposition
Unlike other childbirth books and projects, our focus is on the emotional and whimsical aspects as opposed to the scientific and physical. It is our humanity that makes us equal and yet unique, and there is nothing so human as being born. Listening to mothers tell the beginning of our stories is an out of body experience that allows us to see something that carries absolute value regardless of what we believe or know about it. By collecting stories from around the world we are providing an opportunity for people to connect worldwide in an emotional and personal way.
I’m not a mother myself, but I do think the conversation of how we came to be very important. No matter how old you are, you are always someone’s child. If you think you can help out please contact us on the blog: http://nascentcollage.wordpress.com/contact/


Simone Workshop January 19, 2012

Natalia and I will be presenting a creative writing workshop in tandem with the Simone exhibition that’s at Oxford House. Do feel free to come along as,

a) it’s free

b) it would be nice to see you


c) we’re wanting to get people collaborating, like we have, in different mediums.


So if you’re a shy writer who doesn’t feel like they have what it takes to write a full length story… Come and see if there’s a photographer who could help you collate one. Or if you’re a painter who has dabbled but only does it behind closed doors… Maybe see if there’s a fellow painter who wants a stimulus from month to month. The main objective of the workshop is to discuss and experiment with responses to different mediums and how to generate ideas. Not only is it free, but it’s in a nice place and you’ll get to see the exhibition too as it will take place in the cafe. Give us a shout if you’re coming along and if you can’t make it, feel free to pass it on the someone who can. Here’s the blurb:


Creative Writing Workshop

by Katie McCullough & Natka Studio

Café Gallery, Oxford House

Wednesday 25th January 2012

7.30 – 8.45pm

All Welcome!

Katie McCullough and Natka Studio collaborated in a creative version of

‘Consequences’ to create their project, ‘Simone’, which is currently displaying

in the cafe at Oxford House.

Merging the written word and illustration they have forged a unique

collaboration. Using simple exercises and exploring their approach to the

project they will be discussing how you too can forge creative relationships.

Materials will be provided and the workshop will be free of charge.

Exhibition takes place till the 31.01.2012, in the Oxford House cafe.

Katie Mccullough – Writer


Natka Studio – Illustrator



Regina V Cooper Footage January 4, 2012

Another blast from the past! Unfortunately a lot of the footage for Regina V Cooper was lost, but myself and cameraman Matthew Farman have trawled through what we have and compiled what we’d like to call a trailer for the piece. And when I say ‘we‘ trawled, what I really mean is I gave Matt notes and he did all the hard work.

So here it is…




‘Simone’ Exhibition December 21, 2011

As this year comes to and end it also signals the fruitful passing of time for the Simone project. Just a quick recap for those who don’t know… I’ve been collaborating with a fantastic illustrator called Natalia Wilkoszewska throughout the year on a variation of the games of ‘Consequences‘. And Simone is the culmination of it all. I write a piece of flash fiction and Natalia would illustrate it, then she’d illustrate the next part of the story and then it was up to me to write the response, then the next part of the story… And so on. We never forced each other’s hand to bend the story, we simply gave each other cliffhangers and free reign. And now we have a year’s worth of Simone’s life documented for all to see. It’s been an adventure.



I cannot believe a year has passed on this. Each month we did one image and one text and in January 2012 the entire collection will have it’s first public viewing at Oxford House in Bethnal Green. We’re chuffed, thrilled and ecstatic to be able to have the opportunity to let it unfurl in a public forum, especially in a building like Oxford House where they’re keen to exhibit upcoming artists.


This is something new for me (I’m going to be ‘exhibiting some work’ – odd!) and the idea of having work up for people to see for a prolonged period of time is a good kind of crazy. What initially started as an exercise to keep each other creatively exercising, has turned into a beautiful project and we’re keen to get people to go along and see not only our work, but the others on show.



Simone will be displayed from 12th January till 31st January 2012 in the Oxford House cafe which is open from 9am till 4pm. We’re hoping this won’t be the only outing for the project, so I’ll blog about any future developments about other exhibits. Do let us know if you go along and more importantly, enjoy it!