"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Posts tagged "Bloomsbury"
Saunders in the zone

Saunders in the zone

If you want to succeed in art, you need to be constantly scanning the horizon for inspiration. For me, by and large, this comes more in the form of life experience than from direct artistic influence. A bit of happenstance, a string of tiny coincidences in my day-to-day activities, is apt to set my gears...
Diamond discoveries

Diamond discoveries

Not long after I began writing my Aviary Gate series of historical novels, I came across of portrait of Paul Pindar. It shows a narrow-faced, scholarly-looking man in his middle years. He wears a suit of sober merchant’s black, a falling collar of simple but exceedingly expensive white lace at his neck. The portrait is...
Keeping it pastoral

Keeping it pastoral

Tim Pears’ spellbinding new novel The Horseman tells the story of a touching, unexpected friendship between a carter’s son and a landowner’s daughter. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy that begins in a remote valley on the Devon–Somerset border in the early years of the twentieth century. He fills us in on his...
Boom or bust

Boom or bust

A hundred pages into Jay McInerney’s new novel Bright, Precious Days, Russell Calloway treats himself and a co-worker to lunch. As the editor-in-chief of a small New York publishing house, Russell has just initiated a pre-emptive bid on a hot prospect: the harrowing memoir of a journalist who recently escaped from a Taliban prison cell. It’s 2007,...
Taking flight

Taking flight

Nature writing has experienced a resurgence in recent times, not least as a means of exploring a wide range of personal issues and experiences. This is reflected in this year’s shortlist for The Wainwright Prize, an award for exceptional books about the great British outdoors, named in honour of the celebrated fell-walker, author and illustrator...
Meg Rosoff takes the lead

Meg Rosoff takes the lead

I go to visit Meg Rosoff in her new loft apartment, not far from Borough station. Her husband Paul and her two dogs are there too and it feels a little like the pages of her new novel Jonathan Unleashed, in which a spaniel and sheepdog have a starring role, have been brought to life....
Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Carol, starring Cate Blanchett as a wealthy 1950s New York housewife and mother who risks her place in society by embarking on an intense affair with Rooney Mara’s shop girl, is a hot tip for big prizes as the film industry gears up for its annual awards season. The film, directed by Todd Haynes, is...
Margaret Atwood: 'Rape Fantasies'

Margaret Atwood: ‘Rape Fantasies’

‘It’. Ten times in the first two paragraphs of Margaret Atwood’s classic ‘Rape Fantasies’, the chatterbox narrator, Estelle, avoids naming rape – plainly the topic she wants to address. And who is this Estelle? Oh, she’s quite the card, quite the jokester about rape, although she does take constant detours from her topic. So we...
A country escape

A country escape

Christine Sneed’s latest novel Paris, He Said focuses on a woman in her early 30s who accepts the offer of an older man who invites her to live with him in the French capital and work as an artist. She writes from a luxurious and strings-free creative haven closer to home. October 2, 2015 Lake Forest, Illinois: I’m at Ragdale, an...
Writing about nothing

Writing about nothing

In a clip I never tire of watching, filmed on the Scandinavian leg of her 1976 tour, punk-rock legend Patti Smith takes perhaps the tamest song in the Velvet Underground’s repertoire and bawls it at us with a screech that is raw, ferocious, tortured. Her poet’s instincts turn Lou Reed’s bland line “lately you just...