Biography

I’m a writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker. I was born in 1980 and grew up in Scotland, England, Germany and Northern Ireland. I studied English Literature at Lancaster University and Film Production at the University of Bristol.

After years working as a camera assistant and then a magazine journalist, I started writing fiction in 2006. My short stories have been published in journals, anthologies and magazines including Dark Mountain, Gutter, Valve, PANK, Fractured West, Fire Crane, Southpaw and Smoke: a London Peculiar, as well as performed by Liars’ League and featured on BBC Radio 6Music. I won the Flashtag short short story slam in 2014, and I’ve written more than a thousand very short stories on Twitter.

My debut novel The Visitors was published by Quercus Books in 2014. It was a Waterstones Scotland book of the month, part of WHS Smith Fresh Talent, joint winner of the Book Box prize and winner of the Guardian Not The Booker prize. There’s a round-up of reviews here which I really need to update at some point.

I live in Cumbria with the painter Monica Metsers and our children, Indy and Dora. I am working on my second novel. It’s taking ages.

I’m represented by the amazing Sue Armstrong, Senior Agent at Conville & Walsh.

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If you’d like to know more about me and my stories, here are one or two interviews (and other things) discussing my work.

A Tome On The Range – talking to The Quietus about storytelling, landscapes and being a nomad.

Author Confessions – some brilliant questions from Scottish Book Trust exploring word counts, favourite bookstores and my doppelganger, the godlike genius Ben Folds.

Bloody Scotland Blog Tour – discussing protagonists, place, planning and parapets with Raven Crime Reads.

New Talent November – an interview on Crime Fiction Lover discussing stories, writing and pressure.

My life in… Fiction – discussing my working practice and next novel with Cumbria Life magazine

Coffee, Cake & Crime – an interview with crime blog There’s Been A Murder covering The Visitors, my future projects, the perils of writing from real life and some (gulp) writing advice.

Other People’s Bookshelves #22 – in which I share the contents of my shelves with Simon from Savidge Reads.

Thievery – a guest spot on Kirsty Logan’s regular series of story inspirations, confessing about a novel I abandoned at 50,000 words.

Author Corner at Erindipity – an interview with Erin Britt that looks at The Visitors, traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, different types of stories and my ongoing battle with time, time, time.

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4 comments

  1. Jane Graham

    Hi Simon,

    I organised the poetry competition. I just wanted to say, I was not alone in genuinely loving your poem and was transfixed by the evocative language and the dreamy lull of its rhythms. It was a very close call in the end, I promise you, VERY!

    I am going to make sure Mogwai see your post here, I’m forwarding it now. I also know for sure Stuart has already read your poem and loved it. I hope that cheers you up a little!

    Jane Graham,
    Reader in Residence

    • simonsylvester

      Thanks for your kind words on my poem, Jane. I don’t mean to come across as a sore loser, but it feels raw to be so near and still so far! I’m genuinely elated to have done well in the competition, and it’s incredible to think of Nicky, Liz, Ian and Stuart reading my work. I’m grateful for an inspiring theme and the opportunity to share something I usually keep quiet. Thanks for getting in touch – great to hear from you.

  2. Jonathan Curran

    Hello Simon, I was wondering if you went to Cardinal Newman School in Hove East Sussex. The thing is the Simon I am looking for I have not seen for 20+ years so am not sure if this is you. The Simon I am specifically looking for was into The Spice Girls, Radio Broadcasting, Making Techno Dance Music on Acorn Computers, making his own dodgy radio transmitters and spoof school newsletters saying kids could throw bricks at a teachers car for charity at £1 per brick. I really do hope its you always wondered what happened to you. My Dad was the head of IT at Cardinal Newman School at the time, so even though I was only 10 going 11 I was always in the IT lab of that school after school hours. If it is you, I just wanted you to know even though we only met briefly your lifestyle was a big influence on us.

    • simonsylvester

      Hi Jonathan—sorry, but it’s not me! Though from your description, I wish I knew him too. Good luck with your search—I hope you find him.

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