About Moi(ra)


I trained as a journlist at the Stockport Express in Cheshire. We were paid a lowly sum, but being among a group of teenage trainees in an era before austerity (and closures) hit local newspapers was just a great blend of fun and expenses-fiddling.
I then worked for various North-West evening newspapers – reporter, feature-writer, sub-editor – and for a short period, a news agency. Covering Crown Court, day in and day out,  for national newspapers certainly worked wonders for my Pitman’s.
In the mid-1980s – after I had completed my first degree - I went more lucratively freelance, writing features for numerous regional and national newspapers and magazines, including You Magazine and the Sunday Times Magazine.

* For national magazine features, click here:

Child Abuse Campaign - 1985
In 1984 I was contributing to an award-winning anti-drugs campaign in the Liverpool Echo. Heroin had become a huge social problem in early-80s Liverpool and shocking stories were emerging  – dealers were selling smack to schoolchildren from ice-cream vans parked outside schools and babies were born addicted to heroin.
During the course of an interview with a social worker, she asked me why no newspaper had ever broached the subject of the sexual abuse of children.
“It is so widespread and damages so many lives,” she said. “Among prostitutes, teenage runaways, the homeless, the drugs-dependent, in prison populations and psychiatric hospitals – social workers know that you can almost guarantee there will have been sexual abuse in the childhoods of these people – and usually the abuser has been a parent or relative.”  Yet, she said, the “stranger-danger” myth was still peddled.

“Sexual abuse by a stranger makes up a very tiny minority of cases, but no one in the media has ever had the courage to declare this. It’s the very last taboo.”

This conversation was the catalyst for my prolonged campaign, published in the Echo in early February 1985 with the title “Can You Hear Our Children Weeping?” (much of it under my then pen-name, Jenny Palmer).

After this regional campaign, I turned to the national press and wrote substantially about the subject in the print media for several years. This work - and that done by those journalists and TV celebrities who came after me – was life-changing for thousands of individuals living in fear and shame.

* For incest campaign material and aftermath story, click here:

TV Columnist

I began writing TV columns and quizzes for the Echo and other regional evening newspapers in the late 1980s. Later I worked for the Sun - still on a freelance basis.  "All you have to do is be funny," the editor Kelvin McKenzie told me. 

The features editor rang me very late one night just before the column was due to go in the next morning . "Kelvin doesn't think the column's funny enough. Can you write another?"

Never before had I had such empathy with stand-up comedians. Feeling more hysterical than hilarious, I scribbled TV-related gags into the wee small hours as the copy deadline moved menacingly closer.

When it was done and, zombie-like, I wondered whether it was actually funny or not (since I was the performer as well as the audience), I reflected upon the truth of Ken Dodd's famous remark about Freud's attempt to analyse what made us laugh:  "The problem with Freud," said Dodd, "is that he never had to play the Glasgow Empire second house on a Friday night."


Opinion Columnist - 1990s Juggling

During the early-90s period, I began writing opinion columns for the Birmingham Post and other newspapers. I was still supplying features to national magazines and newspapers, but I also began diversifying:  I studied  for a Masters degree in English at Warwick University and I had two books published.

* For selection of TV and opinion columns, click here


A great many of my interviews were with adults who, as children, had been victims of incestuous abuse.

The Liverpool Echo ran the first Childline-style telephone helpline for children and adults to be put in direct contact with the relevant experts.

The initial campaign’s consequences were far-reaching, and they are still ongoing in the UK.

These days, even celebrities and members of the Establishment are held answerable for their crimes against children – something which was extremely rare or unheard-of prior to 1985.

*** See my essay “Aftermath”, under "Incest campaign"

In contrast to the raw horrors of child abuse stories, I then spent many years being paid to do something less distressing: I watched television.

The snag was that I had to write about it too, otherwise I didn't get paid. Rather unfair, that.

I was a TV columnist for three British evening newspapers and then in 1988 I began writing the TV column for the Sun – or as then editor Kelvin McKenzie called it “the old Currant Bun”.

One of the Sun's showbiz staffers at the time was a charming and very likable young chap who was always very kind to me. He was called Piers Morgan.

Wonder whatever became of him?

Throughout the 1990s I wrote a weekly opinion column for the Birmingham Post and for two other evening newspapers: the Western Daily Press in Bristol and The News in Portsmouth.

One of the problems with writing an opinion column is that you can't sit on the fence - which is sometimes rather tough, because so often it's easy to see two sides to a story.

Sometimes I would get away with expressing ambivalence, but more often than not, a specific stance was required. And if it provoked readers to disagree with me, then that was great.

As Oscar Wilde said: Please don't agree with me; when someone agrees with me it makes me think I'm wrong.

Books and Academia

1991 Publication of my first book Ghostbusters UK  (with parapsychologist Robin Furman). Publishers: Robert Hale Ltd., London.

1993 Publication of second book Cannibal Killers: The Impossible Monsters. Publishers: Robert Hale Ltd., London.

For more book information click here:  

In 2000 I got a City & Guilds teaching qualification: Teaching to Adults.

From 2000:

2001 to 2008 - University of Bristol.  Spent seven years (part-time) getting my PhD in English Literature: Iain Banks – The Renovation of the Gothic.

My supervisor was the internationally-respected Professor David Punter, one of the two most significant voices in Gothic Literature for more than 30 years.  (My external examiner was Professor Victor Sage, who is actually the other one).

In July 2013 my third book was published,  sourced from this doctoral research.  It is called  Gothic Dimensions – Iain Banks: Timelord (Quetzalcoatl Publishing).

It remains the only full-length study of all of Banks's work, both mainstream fiction and science-fiction.

* For more about this book click here


I am planning to publish my fourth book – and first novel - in 2014. It will be called Yes-land.

* For more about this book click here:



Acquiring Another Hat


In 2005 I launched The French House Party, Carcassonne at my house in France, providing short-break residential arts courses for groups.

A few years later I extended the French House Party  property to provide more bedrooms, a tennis court, plus a large kitchen designed specifically for cookery courses.


* For more FHP information, click here: