Date Archives November 2010

Reading binge

I was on a panel recently at Whitechapel Idea Store with Alex Wheatle and Mark Piggott, discussing “London: fact and fiction”. When I heard a week in advance what the topic was going to be, I thought about all the famous London books I hadn’t read, starting with Alex Wheatle’s and taking in other big books like Brick Lane and… Read More

“Ashes” by Matthew Crow

The opening image of Ashes is a powerful one – a group of kids trying to stone a cat to death. The reason? “Something to do”. The tone is set for the rest of the novel. Bleakness, lack of hope, pointless violence, misdirected anger, innocent victims. The setting is Meadow Well council estate in North-East England in the early 1990s,… Read More

“The Dark Child” by Camara Laye

This is a fairly short and simple autobiographical account of a boy growing up in Guinea in the 1930s and 40s. Camara Laye wrote it in 1954 while studying in France, and you can feel the nostalgia for his homeland. Although the writing style is quite understated, the emotion is communicated quite effectively, and it’s very moving in places. As… Read More

“The Sea” by John Banville

John Banville is a magnificent prose writer. I loved his earlier book Birchwood, so thought I would try out The Sea, which won him the Booker Prize in 2005. I liked it, but did feel a little bit disappointed. The writing was still beautiful. The blurb on the cover from the Daily Telegraph was not an overstatement: “They are like… Read More

Buy Bitmead Books

As regular readers will know, my novel On the Holloway Road was published as a result of winning the Luke Bitmead Writers’ Bursary, an award set up by the family of Luke Bitmead, a writer who died tragically young. My publisher, Legend Press, is doing a special offer at the moment, comprising both of Luke’s books, plus mine and also… Read More