Some notes from a lecture on the shortness of the short story
November 19, 2013
In my day job as a writer in residence at the University of Nottingham’s School of English, I sometimes have the pleasure of standing in front of a crowd of students and telling them some things I think I know about reading and writing. Today I gave a talk about short stories, and in particular …
There isn’t any party like a The Letter Pages party
November 6, 2013
Hello All, We hope you are excited as we are about to launch the second issue of The Letters Page. Join us as we send the second instalment of The Letters Page in the general direction of our subscribers’ inboxes and post-boxes. There will be mince pies, obviously, and drinks, and fine literary/correspondence conversation. There will …
What’s the point?
November 5, 2013
Plenty of people reacted with predictable horror to this recent interview with Noel Gallagher, in which he says, in summary, that “novels are a waste of f**king time”. (The interview is well worth reading, but it’s NSFW if you work somewhere that feels the need to put asterisks in f**king.) Mostly, the interview is pretty …
Listen again (and again)
October 1, 2012
Listen again (and again): The full shortlisted of the BBC International Short Story Award 2012, available as free podcasts. Hurry, hurry.
I have been influenced by this refutation of the notion of writerly influences
September 17, 2012
I have been influenced by this refutation of the notion of writerly influences: J. Robert Lennon, being articulate and smart and considered again, this time on the redundancy of the “who do you consider to be your influences” question. A question I’ve tried to address before, usually with reference to the music of Pulp, but which Mr …
Not An Instruction Manual
September 13, 2012
Not An Instruction Manual: Lists of strict injunctions about How To Write usually descend into a kind of macho self-mythologising, and Rick Moody proves himself to be no exception by including “Do this [revise] twelve to twenty times” in this guide to revision. Eleven revisions would be one too few, Rick? Twenty-one would be overdoing …
Your Next Reading List
Your Next Reading List: Courtesy of the always-worth-listening-to Charles May, a list of 200 short stories for you to get your teeth into. And that’s just to get you started.
Ali Smith, talking at the Edinburgh festival last month about…
September 11, 2012
Ali Smith, talking at the Edinburgh festival last month about style and content in the novel. (She’s speaking between 8 mins and 26 mins; the rest is audience Q&A.) It’s always worth listening to what Ali Smith says about writing.
Am I reading too much?
August 22, 2012
Occasionally, an email arrives via my website with a question about books – my books, or any books – and about writing. Recently, a writer – who I’m calling “K” because it sounds literary and mysterious – emailed to ask whether he should avoid reading fiction while writing his own in order to avoid being …
On "thinking things through before opening your goddam piehole."
August 20, 2012
On “thinking things through before opening your goddam piehole.”: You should know J. Robert Lennon from his Pieces for the Left Hand. (No, really. You should.) Here, he tackles the recent debate on whether social media has made the world of writers and critics too comfortable and, well, nice, by means of explaining the right and …