Date Archives July 2008

Sleepless

It’s past four in the morning and I can’t sleep. Haven’t slept all night. I tried reading for a while, but that didn’t work – I couldn’t focus for more than a few seconds at a time. All that I have been able to do is lie in bed for five hours with my eyes wide open, staring into the darkness while Genie sleeps beside me, only waking up every hour or so to mumble “You OK, sweetheart?” Am I OK?? I’m fantastic! I just won the Luke Bitmead Writers… Read More

“Afterwards” by Rachel Seiffert

The style of writing is very conversational. No beauty, not even many full sentences. The sort of writing with not many verbs. Just reportage,and not always very grammatical, like you were hearing someone tell you it on the phone. That part didn’t work for me, but the advantage of it was that it focused my attention entirely on the characters, all of which were strong and fascinating. What made them successful, too, was that while much was revealed about them, important things were also withheld, so that they felt elusive… Read More

Two years in jail… for graffiti!

On my way to work on Friday, passing Southwark Crown Court, I saw a group of people protesting outside. I always love people protesting about something instead of just complaining or watching TV, so stopped to ask what it was about. They said that a friend of theirs had been convicted of graffiti and sentenced to two years in jail. I couldn’t believe it: two years, for some graffiti? Now, as this disgustingly biased article makes clear, the graffiti was widespread, and carried out over a period of years, by… Read More

Caine Prize for African Writing

I’ve been attending quite a few readings at the Southbank Centre lately, and always find that, while I spend some time wondering why I am there, I get something from the experience in the end. Last Sunday it was the shortlisted writers for the Caine Prize for African Writing. My first observation was that, whereas the Orange Prize readings last month were a sell-out even in the larger Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Caine Prize readings attracted only a few dozen people scattered around the Purcell Room. It’s true that the… Read More