About Me, and My Writing CV

Hello, my name is Richard Grainger

I am a freelance writer and novelist.

Here is my writing CV:

Summary of General Writing Experience:

  • 2011-2012: MA in Magazine Journalism at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
  • 2012 Feature articles published in prestige magazines, including Horse & Hound and SAGA magazine.
  • 2011: MA in Professional Writing (distinction) from London Metropolitan University.2012 – novel: The Far Side of the Road is nearing completion. A black comedy set in South Armagh, during the Troubles.
  • 2008- 2010: Contributed match reports and player profiles for Exeter Rugby Club, recently promoted to the Premiership. These articles appeared in match-day programmes and on their website. 2009-present:  I write a monthly column for SK7, a Cheshire ‘lifestyle’ magazine.
  • 1999-2002: Contributed weekly copy as a fitness consultant to The Times, for “Fit to Play”, the Jennai Cox column.
  • 1996-2000: Member of the publishing syndicate QMM, led by Iain Ballantyne, an established defence journalist, now editor of the globally renowned naval affairs news magazine, ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review.  My articles appeared in publications such as The Saab Owners Magazine, The Porsche Lifestyle Yearbook, British Airways’ and South African Airways’ in-flight Magazine.
  • 1996: The Last Latrine, a book based on my experience of travel in Nepal culminating in running The 1993 Reebok Everest Marathon, published by Minerva Press. It sold almost 1500 copies and is currently out of print

 

SAMPLES OF MY RECENT WORK:

 

Qualifications:

2012:      PG Dip in Magazine Journalism

2011:      MA Professional Writing, London Metropolitan University: distinction

2007:     Post-Graduate Diploma in Sport & Health Sciences, Exeter University (Merit)

1981:      B.Ed (Hons) London University (Lower second, Physical Education and History).

 

General Life Background:

Writing: a bit like the Berlin Wall — always a bit of an obstruction present

Writing: a bit like the Berlin Wall — always a bit of an obstruction present

A few years ago, I competed an MA in Professional Writing at London Metropolitan University and was awarded a distinction.

It was a great course, and taught me how to write succinctly, edit copy and compile reviews to a high standard. However, I finished the year feeling that I needed further journalistic and editorial skills so that I could construct a magazine — and related website — from scratch.

That took me to the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan), where I undertook another course, the PG Diploma in Magazine Journalism. Follow this link for my Uclan blog.

Being a student again in my mid 50s was akin to living life in reverse.

I love writing — any form of writing — and, as a lad, always wanted to be a journalist. However, this received no parental support way back in the ’70s; when I did manage to escape from Northern Ireland and the parental clutch, I ended up at Borough Road College, and trained as a teacher.

What triggered this was a love of sport – Rugby in particular – and it was a memorable four years!

I worked as a teacher – a profession to which, like my hero George Mallory, I was — at the time — temperamentally unsuited, for 20 years. Although primarily a PE teacher, I taught English and History and edited the school magazine at St. John’s in Sidmouth.

Then in 1999 I re-trained as a personal trainer and started my own business: Peak Performance Training. In 2000, I became a consultant for The Times’ “Fit to Play” page and worked as a ghostwriter answering questions for Jennai Cox and Catherine Riley (who sadly passed away recently) for several years.

I acquired a reputation as a fitness industry expert, and assisted with television productions such as Channel 4’s documentary: “Weight Maters”, fronted by Vanessa Feltz.

Writing has always been a passion – yes, even more than beer, cricket and rugby! During the ‘80s and ‘90s I combined teaching with coaching rugby at top junior club level. I also wrote sports and running related features for various publications, including the local paper: The Sidmouth Herald — “The Beano” as it was unaffectionately known. I have also been published in Runners’ World, The Cricketer and Rugby World magazines.

In 1992 I ran around the Cornish coast path for charity. While this was some way short of being enjoyable, it helped me to prepare and get accepted for the Everest Marathon in 1993. This is still the world’s highest and most demanding marathon. It was a life-changing experience, and ultimately led to my first book.

OTHER WRITING EXPERIENCE, INTERESTS AND QUALIFICATIONS

A primary area of interest and knowledge continues to be sport, exercise and fitness.

I completed a Postgraduate diploma in Sports and Health Sciences at Exeter University in 2006.

In 2009, I studied editing and proofreading through an excellent and highly intensive course run by Chapter House.

During my Masters’ course at London Met., I helped a large number of students — mainly from overseas — to improve the syntax of their work and to express themselves more precisely in their second language. I found this rewarding and I continue to provide this service for a modest fee.

From 1996-2000 I was a member of the publishing syndicate QMM, led by Iain Ballantyne, an established defence journalist, now editor of the globally renowned naval affairs news magazine, WARSHIPS International Fleet Review.

Iain had connections in a variety of editorial spheres and I was lucky enough to be a contributor who could cover a wide range of topics. My articles appeared in publications such as The Saab Owners Magazine, The Porsche LifestyleYearbook, British Airways’ and South African Airways’ in-flight Magazines.

From 2008-2010, I worked in the media department of Exeter Chiefs Rugby club. As such, I wrote match reports for instant publication on their website and subsequently in match day programmes. I also compiled player profiles; however unfortunately this ceased when they were promoted to the Premiership and they engaged a full-time Media Director.

I contributed a weekly column on the Championship for Rugby World Magazine.

For examples of my work, please click on the menus which will lead you to my blogs, samples of my feature writing and short stories. This will give you a flavour of my work.

 

OTHER INTERESTS

Thanks to my daughter, Rosanna, I learned to ride a few years ago. I had not ridden since I was ten but took to it like a duck in water — which I usually was. I even beat her once in a show jumping class — but that was a long time ago and she is now jumping huge courses on her horses Surprise and Archie.

Billy No Mates ll

Billy No Mates ll and me, clearing a huge cross country jump!

I did a few Hunter Trails and hunted with the East Devon Hunt. This — in case you’re anti-hunting — mainly involved galloping furiously around the countryside, then standing for ages in the rain drinking from hip flasks, eating mutilated sandwiches and chatting.

I have also done the Man V Horse race in mid-Wales four times, twice on foot and twice with Billy. This is a 22 mile multi-terrain race over bog, forest trail and mountains. I can confirm it is a lot easier on horseback than it is on foot! I sneaked into this picture with Florian, a German runner who won the event in 2008, and was only the second runner to beat a horse. Billy and I were 15th – not bad for a cob!

Richard with Florian, the winner in 2008

I am passionate about Rugby and Cricket. My son Cameron is a very promising cricketer who has played for England Schools (South and South West) and Devon Schools since he was ten. He was also in the England Under 16 squad and currently plays for Sidmouth Cricket Club in the Devon Premier League.

I have been involved in coaching Rugby for many years, mainly at Sidmouth Rugby Club. One of my biggest regrets was missing out on a Twickenham final in 2005. We were 90 seconds away from glory in the semi-final against Sheffield Tigers (now in National League 2) when they scored in  the corner and converted to snatch a 36-34 victory and shatter our dream!

I enjoy running, hill walking and beer and a good film.

 

WHY BOTHER WITH A WEBSITE?

This is a fair question; as Bob Geldof recently said: a websites and a blog are a bit like an arsehole – everyone has one. Quite funny for you, that one Bob.

I suppose it is primarily to showcase my work – fiction and non-fiction, and also my services.

Please refer to the Ghostwriting page for more information on this. If you wish to get into print, I can help you avoid the kind of mistakes I made. With my assistance; you will produce a polished, quality manuscript, which I will help you to market.

Maybe you have a brilliant idea for a story but lack either the time or the confidence to develop it.

You may just want some guidance or advice on a writing project which has lost momentum or direction.

Please get in touch – it will cost you nothing to discuss your projects, interests or aspirations!