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 […]

Meeting People Is Easy – Get Published in a Great Anthology

  I wrote this little essay on fame, bands, Jack Nicholson and new writing as the introduction to Birkbeck’s annual short-story anthology MIR13 (The Mechanics’ Institute REVIEW).     A new issue of this, MIR14, is being compiled right now. It is taking UK wide submissions until Friday 10 February 2017. Details on how to submit here. So, […]

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 2017, so I’m quickly reposting these 9 Things Not to Do in NaNoWriMo, along with a brief mention for my slightly less stern 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 on the Creative Writing MA. Any […]

Sport – or, What Can Writers Learn From Athletes and Coaches?

This talk was first delivered to students of the Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck on May 3rd 2016. Leicester City won the Premier League, and since then a great deal of the national conversation – online, in newspapers, in corridors – has been, ‘How did they do it?’ The next thing after that, of course, is, […]