Sensibility

  I don’t think you’re going to like this. It’s probably going to hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, there’s a problem. As part of your coursework, you’ll have read Flannery O’Connor’s essay ‘Writing Short Stories’. She begins by saying this: ‘I have heard people say that the short story was one of the most difficult […]

Notes for a Young Gentleman

The opening of the new novel:     and the opening of the new novel:   Until you have read this through, do not write in it. If you choose to do so thereafter, that is your own mistake. It was spooked England, all laid out below and invisibly rushing up towards one—thirty-two feet per […]

The Three Virtues of Martin Amis

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 […]

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 […]