Date Archives April 2013

Ten years ago: Voluntary poverty in New York City

This post is part of a series of stories and articles I wrote exactly ten years ago, on this day in 2003. This one’s a feature article based on some time I spent visiting and helping out at the Catholic Worker hospitality house in New York. For more stories in the series, click here. 30th April 2003 A young Japanese woman with purple hair tripped along First Street, clutching to her chest all the books that she couldn’t fit in her fashionably miniscule backpack. A graffiti-covered computer keyboard dangled cryptically from… Read More

Some interviews

I’ve been interviewed on a few book blogs lately, talking about my new novel A Virtual Love, and also my writing in general. If you’re interested, here are the links: Manchester book blogger The Workshy Fop asked me about the political dimensions of the book, and about my views on blogging and internet culture Ghanaian-born, South African-based book blogger Geosi did a wide-ranging interview on the book, my early career, what I learned from being a journalist, and whether I regret giving up a lucrative corporate banking career Fellow writer Maria… Read More

Giveaway: Granta Best of Young British Novelists 2003

The announcement this week of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 2013 reminded me that I have a spare copy of the collection from 2003, featuring young talents like Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Adam Thirlwell, Hari Kunzru and David Mitchell. If you’d like me to send a free copy to you, just leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. Tweets and other social media mentions count as an extra entry. I’ll draw the winner randomly on Monday. You can enter from anywhere in the world. Good luck!

How to Improve your Foreign Language Immediately

This is a very slim book – just 95 pages – and yet it comes with a big promise in the title and big endorsements from Shekhtman’s former students in places like The New York Times and The Pentagon. Surprisingly, the book does deliver on its promise. Shekhtman’s technique is not to improve your language level, but to give you specific ‘communication tools’ that help you express yourself better using the language you already know. Without knowing any extra vocabulary or grammar structures, you can speak more fluently and have… Read More

Ian McEwan’s early writing influences

Ian McEwan was interviewed in his university magazine this month, talking about his early influences and how he became a writer. Since it’s an interesting story, and some of you may possibly not have seen the latest copy of Falmer: The University of Sussex Magazine, I thought I’d summarise it here. Failure and disappointment The most interesting part, to me, is that the career of such an illustrious writer began with failure and disappointment. In fact, the failure and disappointment turned out to be crucial in his development as a… Read More

A few updates

Well, it’s been a busy few days. First there was the launch party for A Virtual Love, which you can see pictures of here if you missed them before. Then the following things happened, in no particular order: Got a wonderful review over on Tales from the Reading Room – “As a portrait of modern love it is quite unsettling, pointing to ever-growing questions about what remains most real and significant in our transient, illusory world” Katy Guest, the literary editor of The Independent on Sunday, wrote a column about the… Read More