Audio and video, good lord.
The Question In the final workshop of last term I was asked The Question. It was one of the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA students, Alex Petropoulos, who asked it. Come on, tell us what we really want to know – tell us The Secret. I was really on the spot. Did I know The Secret? […]
My mother had a stroke. Luckily, it was quite minor. She was still able to read, though more slowly. There was a gap in her vision – an absence where sight simply didn’t take place. Because of this, she wasn’t able to drive. My mother’s stroke changed our family. None of her children had started […]
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 […]
Today, Galley Beggar announced they will be publishing my novel Patience in August 2019. I feel differently about this book to others I’ve written. It seems, to me, the best thing I’ve done. Not just written, done. This is largely because I was visited by Elliott, a once-in-a-lifetime narrator who is nicer, wiser and generally […]
It’s Too Original Your novel is ahead of its time. This means that no-one is equipped to understand it, because in order to understand it’d they’d have to have read it, and no-one has yet read it because – when they try – they find they’re not equipped. A very vicious circle, this. However, your […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.