Blogs

How to write and where to write to write like Alexander Pope

I’ve had my knuckles down and writing all week this week – and while making some progress on the novel I’ve also made a parallel effort to optimise my working conditions (mostly as an exercise in procrastination – and a very effective one). I’ve let it get to a slightly obsessive state – everything is considered, from the location of the chair relative to the window (light coming in but no opportunity to look out), to the position of the two...

Robert Graves - Collected Poems

Weird stuff this, legends, ballads, horrors, ghosts. Robert makes it up as he goes along. His first poems were published in 1926, his last in 1975. Darkness of title and topic, 'Warning to Children' 'One Hard Look'. 'Alice' is a crisply rhymed wonderland of kittens and queens. 'The Cool Web' illustrates how we can employ words to calm us and control our fears. Until words fly off the handle and madden us on our deathbed. Some poems rhyme some...

Jane Ashfelt (2014) Saltwater.

Jane wrote a few stories on Abctales. Here is a link to one http://www.abctales.com/story/ashb/boat-trip-3 Needless to say, after getting a coveted cherry she went on to win numerous awards and to have her short-story Saltwater Project published. The theme is water. I’ll not give the plot away, but in her first story in the collection Róisín, the younger sister of the narrator, follows up with her own story, about growing up in an Irish...

Vesna Maric (2010) Bluebird.

The title comes from the old Vera Lynn number: ‘There’ll be bluebirds over/ The white cliffs of Dover,/ Tomorrow, just you wait and see.’ Somehow Vesna associated that song with England, a country she knew little about, but knew vaguely through obsessing over old and new songs. This gave her a bridge into learning English, which was to prove useful in later life, because at the beginning of this memoir, she is a normal sixteen-year-old girl...

Bugsy Malone, St. Peter’s The Apostle Secondary.

I don’t usually go to stage plays. I can count on one finger the number of plays I go to, especially if they’re musicals. Musicals and I have got an understanding. I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me. But this was one of those ones were my sister got tickets and told me I was going. Never argue with your big sister and never pay for your ticket. Pressganged, because her son was playing Fat Sam, even though he’s not fat and his name is...

Interview with Cristina Henriquez

This week we spoke with Cristina Henriquez, a brilliant American novelist who’s been called one of "Fiction's New Luminaries" by the Virginia Quarterly Review. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, and Ploughshares, and her second novel (her first in the UK), The Book of Unknown Americans , publishes this Thursday, the 5th of June, with Canongate. It’s a deeply moving tale of one family’s determination to cope...

What does India MODIfied mean to me?

The last three weeks or so, India has been regarded for all positive reasons besides the stormy unvarying news that do appear every day, be it chauvinism, discrimination or messiness. Like many Indians, the recent vote cast was a dignity for that India needed to come out of all the ill-traits exploited by the erstwhile government during the last decade. Now why and how would one think of Modi, the new-fangled, spirited Prime Minister of India...

Hardtalk - BBC World News Interview Heaven

Twenty-five minutes of Stephen Sackur and subject. Stephen is warmly serious, confrontational when he needs to probe deeper, push harder. Yesterday he talked to Christian Purslow managing director of Liverpool FC from 2009-2010. Financial takeovers, a court case, should English football clubs be owned be foreign investors? Accountablity, do the owner give enough back to their loyal fans, do they care or is it all about money? The right questions...

Froch v Groves 2 ( The Fight)

So, it happened! I had it spot on. I said it wouldn't go the distance, I said it would end before the ninth round, I said there would be a knockout in rounds 6 -9. So all good there then. However, I picked the wrong fighter! The undercard lived up to all its hype. All the british guys fought and won well. At 22.00 the main event started. Groves came in to a fan fare of a tune I'd never heard before. But it was pumping and so was the stadium...

Searching for Sugar Man BBC 4 9pm, director Malik Bendjelloul (R.I.P.)

Searching for Sugar Man BBC 4 9pm, director Malik Bendjelloul (R.I.P.) This is one of those programmes that make you believe in Jesus. Jesus Rodriguez that is. He was a 1970s guitar playing, singer that wrote his own songs and was described by record producer as ‘way beyond a musical artist’ and above Bob Dylan. He brought out two albums in the early seventies. Both didn’t do as well at the producers hoped. His record company let him go and...

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