This week - Monday 30th March to Friday 3rd April - Amazon are giving away free Kindle copies of my collection of short stories, "Secrets & Wisdom". Recently I read one of the stories from this volume, "Welshman" (see the link below). Now you have the chance to get the whole collection absolutely free! Partly... Continue Reading →
There is a particular skill in taking a relatively small narrative episode and weaving an entire novel from it. In "On Chesil Beach" Ian McEwan displays such talents. The incident of the title - short, climactic, tense, complex, emotional - is perhaps the natural outcome of the story as it is laid before us. How... Continue Reading →
Considering all that he's written, I find it somewhat remarkable that "Paris Echo" is the first Sebastian Faulks I have ever read. Was that a good place to start? I suspect I'll never know. Without doubt, there is much about the book to admire, but the question I'm wrestling with at the end of it... Continue Reading →
I have always wanted to read my short story "Welshman". Written a while ago, it was published in 2017 in my collection of short stories "Secrets & Wisdom". I hope you like it.
A reading of my poem, "The Skip".
Sidings they arc from sight with bizarre elegance an overgrown divergence designated to home the unwanted or the forgotten weeds climb rusting axles clogging memories of motion and birds flit in the eerie silence to reserve a first-class nesting site
Having loved "The Miniaturist" and, off the back of that read "The Muse", I confess to being profoundly disappointed by Jessie Burton's latest, "The Confession". So disappointed in fact, that I've given up on it after about 170 pages. I struggled with the tone, and - I hate to say - so much of it... Continue Reading →
Richard Powers' "The Overstory" is a quite exceptional book on many levels. Engaging, principled, well-written, intelligent; the narrative weaves it way through its pages like the roots of a tree - especially in the final section where the tendrils mix and merge and knit. It's obvious why it was shortlisted for the 2018 'Booker', and... Continue Reading →
Really looking forward to appearing on the panel of writers at this free event in Ripon Library on 14th March, being grilled about being a writer - and only having a minute to answer each question!
Zoë Skoulding's "Footnotes to Water" is somewhat obsessed with its subject. Water flows through the poems, washing inexorably over you in wave after wave. Which is fine, though a little more variety - if only to better demonstrate the poet's linguistic skill - might be nice. In many of the pieces I struggled with the... Continue Reading →
Later, after the fog had lifted, I discovered I had become invisible. It had tumbled down the hill like an afterthought forgotten by the morning, as if it had missed its alarm call and was trying to make up for lost time, scurrying across the lake to where I sat alone, accompanied only by the... Continue Reading →
Compulsion abstracted from reality he painted consumed by a nameless passion accidentally acquainted no slave to fashion he claimed a lack of choice for rolling with the punches rarely on the verge of controlling unbidden instinctive hunches it’s not important what’s created he claimed his... Continue Reading →
fettered by an obscured unnatural view he sought another as if a fresh vista might renew a weary perspective on his mother tongue the tricks he’d sleight-handed since the womb his genius for linguistic husbandry were devoted to a life beyond the tomb his embalming for posterity it was the one thing he... Continue Reading →
Would your love for me increase were I to die or would my barely-mourned decease erase me from your memory? Would your febrile eyes seek out a physical response, the fuel to weave a quilt of lies made posthumously cruel? Was I no more than ornament, a transient nod to Spring, the blush... Continue Reading →
It was a little over two months ago I wrote the first version of the post below. Given the books I was working on were finally published today - Published Today! - the questions posed below become even more relevant. I'm heading into the bulk of 2020 without a firm plan. I have been through the... Continue Reading →
I am delighted to announce three new books for 2020, the first two of these released today, 1st February 2020! The third is published in a week's time. Liam is haunted by his age and the history it forces upon him. Yet he is also plagued by the need to make more - to generate... Continue Reading →
Many years ago the comedian Billy Connolly produced a brilliant TV series, "Billy Connolly's World Tour of Scotland". Many of the stories in "Tale Tales and wee stories" are replays of some of the material from that series, and at its best the book takes you back to those shows; you can picture Billy delivering... Continue Reading →
She speaks with a strange intonation, a peculiarly-located rise in her voice as if the person who taught her English had overlaid the rhythms and inflections of an entirely different language: French, or German, or Pig Latin. It also seems she has never acquainted herself with the full set of letters in the alphabet; some... Continue Reading →
I really don't like not finishing reading a book once I've started, but sometimes I find that's the only way to move on. Unfortunately Charlotte Ansell's "Deluge" falls into that category. I've been dipping into it for many weeks now and am still only half-way through. It sits on a table by the sofa and... Continue Reading →
Some books don't travel well through time. They are of an era, an age. Perhaps those that do - Austen or Conrad, for example - are signs of greatness, of 'classic' literature. What, then, might one say about a book that has not travelled well, that is stylistically convoluted and at times feels remarkably self-indulgent?... Continue Reading →