Date Archives January 2011

Coal funding hits record high

Was astonished by a recent snippet from Christian Aid: Christian Aid has criticised a record high of US$4.4 billion in World Bank funding for coal power stations – a 40-fold increase over the past five years. I can’t believe that at a time when we are facing the need for urgent action to avoid disastrous climate change, the World Bank… Read More

Congratulations Sophie Duffy!

It was wonderful the other night to see the Luke Bitmead Bursary awarded for a third year, this time to Sophie Duffy for The Generation Game. The prize is £2,500 and a publishing contract with Legend Press. I didn’t get to talk to Sophie at the event, but I did speak to several of the runners-up and of course Luke’s… Read More

“The Buddha of Suburbia” by Hanif Kureishi

I grew up in Beckenham, the exact part of London suburbia in which this novel is set. To my knowledge it’s the only time a novel has ever been set in Beckenham – in fact, it’s probably the only time a novel has even mentioned Beckenham in passing. So I very much enjoyed the opening chapters of the book, narrated… Read More

“Lux the Poet” by Martin Millar

I thought I would like this book more than I did. It’s a comedy set in the Brixton Riots of the early 1980s, set around the adventures of a narcissistic poet called Lux. In a wonderfully creative mix of storylines, a whole array of other characters run around in Brixton in the chaos of the riots, most of them exasperated… Read More

RIP Prospero

I learned recently of the demise of Prospero’s Books, my local independent bookshop in Crouch End. It made me very sad – it was a great bookshop, with knowledgeable staff who were always very supportive of me and of other local writers. I was even on their bestseller list for a while. The strange thing is that the place always… Read More

Learning from the French

Moving from journalism into fiction writing, it sometimes feels as if I have gone from one dying industry straight to another. All I read about my profession is doom and gloom, and I sometimes wonder whether I’ve chosen a career that will be obsolete by the time I’ve established yourself in it. It’s the internet, or ebooks, or supermarket  discounting,… Read More