Date Archives January 2009

Night Bus published

My short story Night Bus was recently published in issue 13 of Smoke: A London Peculiar. Among all the young, drunk people on the top deck of the night bus, one quiet, middle-aged man stands out as different, and starts to attract unwelcome attention.

House style

The editing is finished. The book is at the printers. An enthusiastic blurb appeared on the Legend Press website, so presumably they’re happy with it too (or perhaps they’re just happy it’s at the printers). I am relieved and scared. I am also pondering some of the odd little changes made in the name of “house style”. It reminded me of writing for the Wall Street Journal again, where copy editors would go through your story at the last minute adding hyphens in odd places for no apparent reason. When you… Read More

The Triumph of Triviality

We are the people of tomorrow, we have more stuff than anybody’s ever had before, and we are so stupid and self-absorbed that we can’t even bring ourselves to care about our imminent destruction of the planet (voting on the X-Factor, now, that’s a different story). We are trivial. We are foolish. We are wilfully ignorant. We are lost.

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Americans in the gulag

Just caught a fascinating piece in the Times Literary Supplement about the thousands of Americans who, either out of idealism or to escape the Great Depression, moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Many of them were then swept up in Stalin’s purges and ended up in the gulag system. It’s a piece of history I knew nothing about, and made fascinating and very sad reading. The piece is a review – a summary, basically – of the book The Foresaken by Tim Tzouliadis, which I’ve added to my lengthening list… Read More

Proofing

Have been immersed in reading the proof copy of my novel for the last few days. I hate this part. Not reading my novel – it’s not that bad! No, what I hate is proof-reading, editing word by word, line by line, second-guessing myself, looking up each fact, each spelling, each grammatical rule. Writing it the first time is a thrill, and with each new round of editing I lose a little more of that initial thrill. Anyway, it’s done now. And it wasn’t all bad. It was great to… Read More

RIP Pick More Daisies

My favourite cafe in Crouch End, the cafe where I wrote most of my novel On the Holloway Road, has just put up a notice saying it has fallen victim to the credit crunch and closed down. It was a shock to me. The place was perfect for writing. It had friendly staff, American-diner-style bottomless coffee, good food, big windows to stare out of, convenient plugs for a laptop, and Fawlty Towers tapes playing in the bathrooms. And it was just around the corner. Also, on reflection, a reason I liked… Read More

New short story published

My short story Safety was recently published in Carillon Magazine. A woman tries to keep herself safe from life by never leaving her flat in her gated community. But eventually, of course, she has to leave…