When people hear about my background, they immediately think I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I went to Oxford, you see, and before that to a pretty exclusive private school (pictured), and even before that to a private primary school. Add in some high-flying jobs and a master’s from an Ivy [...]
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Have you ever been in the state of “flow”? Everything seems easy and effortless. Problems that would usually stump you for hours you can now solve in minutes. I’ve had those states sometimes in my writing. The words pour out of me, and I can tell they’re good. When I was writing my second novel, [...]
I was in an American-style steak house here in Barbados a few weeks ago, trying to write but being distracted instead by the TVs in every corner of the room beaming out different cable channels: sport to the left of me, news to the right, an action movie front and centre. One programme particularly caught [...]
I’ve lamented the decline of independent bookshops on this site in the past, so was pleased to see a Guardian special section on independent bookshops last weekend. It’s available online – I was particularly interested in the listing of all the independent bookshops in London, but there are also similar articles for the other areas [...]
Troy Davis is almost certainly innocent, but he is still scheduled to be executed at 7pm EST today (midnight UK time). There is no physical evidence against him – he was convicted of murder purely on the testimony of witnesses, seven of whom have since recanted their testimony. Several said they were coerced by police [...]
I live in Haringay, the same borough as Tottenham, where the riots started that have since spread across London. If you take the 41 bus from the corner of my street, you’ll be in Tottenham in 15 minutes or so. But Crouch End, where I live, is a middle-class enclave, popular with families, full of [...]
I like it when fiction writers have something to say about the world. I mean the real world, beyond the world of books. Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, wrote an excellent article in the Boston Review recently about natural disasters, focusing particularly on the earthquake in Haiti. It’s rare [...]
Was saddened this week to hear of the death of peace activist Brian Haw. There are not too many people in these times who live completely honest lives. We may have our opinions about the way we’d like things to be, but we hide them, or express them timidly. Rather than speaking generally, let me [...]
This weekend marks the 50th birthday of Amnesty International, an organisation I’ve been a member of since I was a teenager. It started with Peter Benenson (right) being outraged at the imprisonment of a couple of Portuguese students for raising their wine glasses in a toast to freedom, and now has over 3 million members [...]
Read an interesting article by George Marshall in the New Internationalist recently about cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, a seemingly impossible task until you realise that this would only mean returning to the levels of 1972. I was quite amazed when I read that. 1972 is not long ago. I don’t quite remember it [...]
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