Meet a Member: Nicky Cassidy

This month, we’re meeting new member Nicky, who jumped in last-minute to be one of our writers in residence at the Bloomsbury Festival. Nicky was nominated by Julia Webb-Harvey after a chance meeting at Wordstock last month – don’t forget you can put yourself and other members forward for future features! Now, over to Nicky. 

Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?

Hello! I’m Nicky, I live in Surrey but I’m from Brighton. I am a teacher and I work with students who are out of the school system.

Where did your love of words come from?

I loved words as a child as they were the only place I could go that made sense and felt safe. We moved countries a lot and stories became a safe constant for me – first as a reader and then as a writer. 

What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?

I have only been a member for a few months. I was introduced to 26 by the great Neil Baker, who I met when we both took the same online reflective writing course a few years ago. I never knew this community existed so I am very grateful to Neil for welcoming me in!

Have you been involved in any 26 projects? 

I was very lucky to be Writer in Residence for a day in the recent Bloomsbury Festival and I am keen to get involved in more collaborations. I really love the link with the Wildlife Trust and the way the crossover of words and wildlife has brought about so many fresh ideas.

What’s your ideal scenario for writing? (A coffee shop? Quiet retreat? With or without music? What do you do to get yourself in the right frame of mind?)

Hmm. I am very poor at sitting and writing – I much prefer to run workshops for others to be brave! I am trying to be brave and put pen to paper though. I think I like writing with a few other writers so I can’t sneak off and procrastinate. I also find walking or yoga to be fantastic precursors to a good writing session.

What are you working on at the moment?

There is a poetry competition I am mulling over with links to the island of Guernsey. My grandma was from Guernsey and, as someone who also grew up on a small island, I feel a strong connection with her. This competition felt timely and personal so we’ll see.

Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of? 

I took a year off teaching many years ago and wrote three quarters of a novel based on an idea that I dreamt. At the end of that year, I travelled to Burma and found so many of the themes and images I had written to be alive there. It was a weird sensation to turn corners and see landscapes I had written about. I was a bit blown away by it all and decided I needed to rewrite great swathes of the book again. Two kids later, it is still in its box.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

I love writing workshops. I run them and attend them whenever I can. Kids are a fantastic resource – my students have such mind-bending ways of seeing the world and I magpie from them all the time. I always claim I’ll credit them but I have lost track over the years.

– Interview by Sophie Gordon 

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