High-Rise, Ballard and the 1970s – An Exchange with Adam Roberts

I wrote an article titled ‘Sourcedness’ on Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of High-Rise for Critical Quarterly. It’s here. (It’s also here, until Critical Quarterly say no.) A Facebook post by Adam Roberts on 20th April 2017 seemed to be thinking along the same lines: The Alec Guinness/BBC “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, set in the 1970s, […]

Success!!!

EUSTON STATION A year or so ago, inside Euston Station, I bumped into a former student from the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA – Nicole Burstein. Since I first met Nicole she had gone, I hope she won’t mind me saying, from submitting some very angsty, introspective, scrappy prose for her first Writing and Reading workshop to […]

How to Tell a Story to Save the World

Normally, when people come along to a creative writing class, they are hoping to learn how to write better, not how to save the planet. A couple of years ago, I was teaching a Guardian Masterclass on ‘Storytelling Secrets’. Among those attending were three representatives of an international environmental activist network. They were young, casually […]

Writing Well and Writing to Get Well: A series of events on Creative Writing and Mental Health

Along with my colleagues at Birkbeck College, Richard Hamblyn and Lily Dunn, I have been organising a big series of events to deal with this question – What can writers and teachers of Creative Writing learn from psychiatry, neuroscience, and other medical disciplines about the links between creativity and mental illness? We are delighted to announce […]

9 Things You Need to Write a Novel (#NaNoWriMo2016 repost)

  The first thing you need to write a novel is… Time. The second thing you need to write a novel is… More Time. And the third thing you need to write a novel is… Even More Time. This perhaps seems a bit obvious. But let me explain. Time, More Time and Even More Time are all necessary. […]

9 Things Not to Do in NaNoWriMo

It’s NaNoWriMo 2016, so I’ve quickly put together these 9 Things Not to Do in NaNoWriMo, along with reposting my 9 Things You Need to Write a Novel. I hope you find them useful. They’re based on the bits of advice I most often find myself giving students. Any comments, or additional don’ts, welcomed.   1. Don’t Bore […]

Music Sounds Better With You

Sometimes someone says something you’ve been trying to say (to yourself as much as anyone) for years. In a recent issue of Wire magazine (well, November 2015), Bridget Hayden supplied the copy for their Inner Sleeve column. This feature allows a musician or producer to talk about the cover art, usually to an L.P., that has meant the […]

Politics

I find Politics dangerously embarrassing.   Dangerously, because my embarrassment about it makes me quietly leave the debate (any debate) to others. Dangerously, because everyone should involve themselves in politics (because politics has always already involved itself in them, not least in the formation of them as them (and, somewhere, as part of many bigger […]

The President of the Union – Michael Gove

In 1988, I was an ambitious student journalist at Oxford University. Having missed out on the editorship of Isis magazine, I went for that of DEBATE: The Oxford Union Review – along with my co-editor, Samira Ahmed, now of the BBC. At that time, the President of the Oxford Union was Michael Gove, now of the […]