I’ve done quite a bit of lyric writing for the composer Emily Hall. Click on her name for a previous blog about our collaborations. Emily has now issued the three main song cycles we’ve done as very beautifully designed and printed scores. A recording of Life Cycle, made by Mara Carlyle, Oliver Coates and John […]
There’s a write up of the event here.
2017 saw the first performances of The Itch-Witch, an opera for children of around nine years old – to be rehearsed and performed by them. Emily Hall wrote the music. It was a Snappy Opera commission from Mahogany Opera Group. I wrote a lot more lyrics than were used. This one tells the origin […]
Earlier this year I wrote a short article for the British Library website about John Donne. It’s intended for ‘A’ Level students, but I said some things I wanted to say about the moment by moment nature of Donne’s poetry. It’s amazing but weirder and weirder the closer you look at it. https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/a-close-reading-of-donnes-song-go-and-catch-a-falling-star
I watch a lot of chess. (I also watch skateboarding and, more recently, surfing.) I mean on YouTube mostly, though sometimes live. I’m not a good chess player, and although I’ve learned something about openings, tactics, strategy and endgames, I’m still a patzer. (Chess word for rubbish player.) I’m not sure exactly what it is […]
I have been taking this blogging business too seriously; trying to come up with finished statements, rather than put something out. I doubt I’ll be able to change, but here goes. It’s usually easier for any generation to acknowledge the qualities of the generation above the one above them – not the mothers, the grandmothers. And […]
Around the time of the launch of Mutants: Selected Essays, I did an interview with Caroline Edwards of Birkbeck about the Future of Fiction. It’s here. In podcast form. Caroline asked some difficult stuff, and I said more than I meant to say.
A while ago, I wrote a novel – a ghost story… Lilian’s Spell Book was written compulsively, under the power of the story, which was – at the same time – very complicated and very simple. I was hoping to publish it under a pseudonym – Alex Warden. And it went out to editors, […]
As part of the Birkbeck Summer lecture series, the wonderful Lara Pawson came along to talk to Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA students, and to me, about writing and other things. It was one of the best events we’ve ever hosted. Lara was extremely open and full of insights. You can listen to the podcast here: […]
What can writers and teachers of Creative Writing learn from psychiatry, neuroscience, and other medical disciplines about the links between creativity and mental illness? On the evening of Friday 26th May 2017, in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck, Professor Kay Redfield Jamison gave a reading from her amazing medical and poetic biography, Robert Lowell: Setting […]