Date Archives October 2012

The cafe killer

I have a confession to make. I’m a natural born killer. Don’t worry – I don’t kill people, or even butterflies. I kill cafes. All I have to do is pick a place to do my writing, go there fairly regularly, and it’ll be closed before the year is out. I’ve even killed a café in Barbados, and I’ve only been here since last December. Here is a partial list of London cafés I have killed: Pick More Daisies (Crouch End) Figo’s Cafe (Crouch End) Messy Mug (Crouch End) Dudley’s Pancake… Read More

The Silk Peacock by Hilary West

This is an interesting and very varied collection of short stories. The overall style is literary fiction, but there are some murder mysteries mixed in there too. Most of the stories are strictly realistic, but some have elements of fantasy, like Dreamcatcher, about a man who sells dreams which can affect the person’s real life. My favourite story was The Greenhouse. It’s a patient, poignant tale of an unmarried woman, Lilian, who appears to have given up on life and spends all her time in her greenhouse, until she meets… Read More

The Twitterati: literary fiction writers to follow on Twitter

A blog post listing all the writers on Twitter would probably take me a lifetime to compile, and cause WordPress to explode in indignation as soon as I hit “Publish”. So I decided to cut it down a bit. The idea of this post is to highlight some big-name literary fiction writers who are on Twitter: people you might not have expected to find tweeting, like Salman Rushdie or Margaret Atwood. I’ve tried to avoid listing Twitter accounts that are run by assistants or PR people or fans – the… Read More

Who needs Paradise? by Paula Harrold

I first met Paula Harrold when she was a pink-haired Oxford theology student who decorated her bedroom wall with a large scythe. I never expected her to write a romantic comedy. She has now done just that, but it’s not your typical romance. The will-they-won’t-they couple in question are Father Daniel O’Reilly, a dead Catholic priest, and one of his parishioners, Mildred, also dead. The action takes place mostly in heaven, with a brief trip to hell and a ghostly return to Earth. Mildred is searching for her lost love,… Read More

Let’s confirm nearer the time

Technology was supposed to simplify our lives, wasn’t it? In so many ways it does, of course, but then we seem to feel the need to complicate things again, as if to compensate. Here’s an example: arranging to meet up with a friend. What used to be accomplished in a single phone call now takes five calls, seventeen texts and a barrage of emails. Because we have the tools in our hands, we feel the need to use them. I’ll illustrate what I mean with a quick case study. Let… Read More

How quickly can you put out an eBook?

So this morning Chinese writer Mo Yan was announced as the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Not having heard of him, I thought I’d go on Amazon and see if any of his work was available for the Kindle (I doubt there’s any of his work available in the bookshops here in Barbados). I discovered that his best-known work, Red Sorghum, is available, with a publication date of 12 October 2012. Coincidence? Possibly. Or did the folks at Cornerstone get the news of the award, think, ‘Shit,… Read More

Author interview – J.R. Crook

I reviewed J.R. Crook’s debut novel Sleeping Patterns on this blog a few weeks ago, and thought I’d follow up by asking the writer himself some questions. If you’re not familiar with the book, click here to read my review, or have a look through the brief description below. Or just skip straight to the interview! Following the death of her narrator, Annelie Strandli, a character in the unfinished novel, Sleeping Patterns, revisits fragmented scenes in search of hidden meanings… In a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie, a… Read More

Me and Marcel

I was happy to hear that one of my short stories has been translated into Turkish and published in a literary magazine. I was even more tickled to see the list of names on the cover  – amid the Turkish names, a couple of foreigners. Andrew Blackman and Marcel Proust. Don’t worry, I’m not getting delusions of grandeur. I know I’ve got a lot of work to do before I catch up with Proust in terms of literary standing. But it was nice to share a cover with him. The… Read More

The 20 best Caribbean book blogs

Since moving to Barbados in December last year, I’ve been keen to discover more about Caribbean literature, and a great way to do that is by reading book blogs. It took me some time to search out the best ones, so I thought I’d share with you this list of blogs by readers and writers from the Caribbean. Happy reading! 1.  Geoffrey Philp – Jamaican author based in Florida, blogs daily on Caribbean literature 2.  Novel Niche – book reviews by a 26-year-old bibliophile in Trinidad 3.  Caribbean Book Blog – the name… Read More