“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "creative writing"
Ten commandments for happy writing

Ten commandments for happy writing

Eve Ainsworth’s debut adult novel Duckling tells the story of a young woman called Lucy (a.k.a. Duckling) who keeps herself to herself on a towering housing estate. Lucy’s daily routines are interrupted when a new neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – but doesn’t come back. Suddenly...
It started with a chair

It started with a chair

I’d been swimming in the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath and was walking home along the lane, stomping colour back into my toes, when I bumped into a lifeguard friend who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks. When she isn’t at the pond, she’s usually making giant sculptures, weaving willow into stunning shapes. But...
Ink blots in the trunk

Ink blots in the trunk

Every aspiring writer is familiar with the concept of the ‘trunk novel’. This is the novel that doesn’t make it to the bookshelf, but instead gets tucked into a bottom desk drawer or old USB drive after refusing to do what its writer wants it to do. Often it’s the writer’s first attempt at a...
Ten things about writing

Ten things about writing

Any writer is prey to the temptation to hand out writing advice at the least provocation, but I try to refrain most of the time. There is sufficient writing and publishing advice on the internet to equal even the cat photos and pornography. But here are ten things I believe about writing: things I tell...
Author's lunch

Author’s lunch

Inviting an author to lunch is one of the publishing world’s great rituals. Authors receive an invitation four or five times a year. Since there are many authors in one publishing house, that means a lot of lunches. Editors feed their authors like fat misanthropic cats they’re hoping to butter up and make purr. The...
My opposite hand

My opposite hand

From the day I learned to write until I was 52 years old, I wrote with my right hand. Then, in April of 2018, due to intense repetitive-stress soreness in my right hand and wrist, I began teaching myself to write with my left. I’ll never be the same. I write my first drafts longhand...
Playing God

Playing God

Nikita Lalwani’s latest novel You People poses the tantalising question: in a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live? Set in London pizzeria where half the kitchen staff are undocumented immigrants, it is a witty and humane snapshot of undervalued lives and...
Spirits and stimulations

Spirits and stimulations

Rosanna Amaka’s The Book of Echoes is a searing debut novel about hope, redemption and the scars of history, narrated by the spirit of an enslaved African who journeys to 1980s Brixton and a sun-baked village in Nigeria, drawing together and transforming the lives of two youngsters who are struggling to hold onto their dreams....
On finding your voice

On finding your voice

When I first started actively pursuing a writing career, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to write: spare and beautiful books set in rural Ireland, miniature domestic tragedies with universal truths at their heart. Possibly there’d be a PWDP (Priest With Dark Past), or a WRAUA (Woman Returning After Unexplained...
Etgar Keret: Something weird

Etgar Keret: Something weird

Fly Already, Etgar Keret’s first story collection for seven years, hits a familiarly outlandish and infectious groove. The title story relates a potential suicide jump as witnessed by a young boy whose innocent, excited observations to his father are set against a backdrop of grief, guilt, recovery and misunderstanding. It typifies the offbeat humour, childlike...
All through the night

All through the night

H.M. Naqvi’s The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack draws a portrait of modern Karachi via the crumbling body and soul of a 70-year-old man who is pondering the city’s past from the viewpoint of a dilapidated family estate. His wistful daydreams of jazz clubs, cabarets, Sufi festivals and visiting Soviet officials are broken when...
Laura Beatty: Insight and wonder

Laura Beatty: Insight and wonder

One comes away from meeting and talking with Laura Beatty with a combined sense of awe and the closest human affinity and immediacy. She possesses a formidable mind, a very composed and elegiac conversational style that one may only call a delicately poetic oral prose. The beginning of a thought or a sentence soon acquires...