Posts tagged Literary events

The book launch

Thanks to everyone who came to my book launch on Wednesday night! It was a wonderful evening, by which I mean that lots of people turned up and I didn’t botch my speech or reading 🙂 For those of you who couldn’t make it, due to minor inconveniences like living on different continents, here are the edited highlights: As you can see from the final photo, while some people just mingled and chatted, others couldn’t wait to start reading 🙂 If you were there and have any photos of your… Read More

Different kinds of writer

I have a bad habit, sometimes, of generalising about what “writers” are like, mostly based only on my own experience. Last night I got a good reminder that there are many different kinds of writer. I was performing at an event called “Stand up for Books“, organised by the Society of Authors and the Society of Young Publishers. I was one of six authors reading from their work. Not only was the writing itself very varied in style and subject matter, but the way we behaved on stage was very… Read More

On the wall at Foyles

An interesting thing happened to me this week. I ended up being featured in a photography exhibition at Foyles bookshop in central London. Before you ask – no, I haven’t suddenly developed a talent for the visual arts. I remain, as I always have been, pretty much visually illiterate. It’s actually one of my short stories that’s being hung on the wall, or at least an extract from it. It’s part of the photography/writing collaboration that I’ve written about on here before. The literary art book, Still, is being launched… Read More

“Aspects of the Novel” by E.M. Forster

I read this book a couple of years ago now, before I had this blog. As I was clearing out stuff this weekend I came across my handwritten notes, stuffed into the bottom of a box where I would never have read them again. This is why I started blogging. I’m typing the notes up so that I have a record of the book that I can access easily, and so that I have one less piece of paper cluttering up my flat. It’s not going to be a well-shaped… Read More

“The Savage Detectives” by Roberto Bolano

If I describe the plot of this book, it will sound incredibly boring. Even a brief summary is boring, unless of course you happen to be interested in the visceral realist poetry movement in Mexico City in the 1970s, apparently a satire of the real life infrarealistas of which Bolano himself was a member. Fortunately, the book is not really about visceral realism or Mexican poetry. At least, that’s not what I got from it. The structure of the book is confusing. The first 100 pages or so are narrated… Read More

“The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie

I don’t quite know what to make of this book. There were so many storylines in so many countries at so many different times, all overlapping and sloshing around at the same time, that at times the book became overwhelming. The writing is beautiful, the concept fascinating, but somehow I didn’t find the book as compelling as I expected to. I went to see Salman Rushdie at the Southbank Centre in London last year and he read from the book and talked about it. It sounded fascinating – the main… Read More

“The Unconsoled” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are trying to get somewhere but things keep going wrong? You get on the wrong train, get off and go back in the other direction but it takes you somewhere else, then start walking but the streets don’t go where they’re supposed to? I’ve had those, mostly at times of stress, when I had a lot on my mind and my life felt out of control. This book is one of those dreams, described in detail for 500 pages. It… Read More

Books not to miss in 2009

I’m never sure how these lists get created. In any case, the Guardian has named it’s books not to miss in 2009. Odd phrasing – not books to read, but books not to miss. Like the best advertising, it suggests an urgency, a tremendous opportunity that could be missed if you’re not fast enough.  In any case, the one I’m most interested in not missing is Set 2666 by Roberto Bolano. I have not read anything by him yet, but keep coming across the name and have seen good reviews for this… Read More

Caine Prize for African Writing

I’ve been attending quite a few readings at the Southbank Centre lately, and always find that, while I spend some time wondering why I am there, I get something from the experience in the end. Last Sunday it was the shortlisted writers for the Caine Prize for African Writing. My first observation was that, whereas the Orange Prize readings last month were a sell-out even in the larger Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Caine Prize readings attracted only a few dozen people scattered around the Purcell Room. It’s true that the… Read More