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Showing posts from February, 2008

The Solitude of Thomas Cave

Last night I finished the wonderful first novel by usual non-fiction writer, Georgina Harding, The Solitude of Thomas Cave. I was initially attracted to the idea of a man going to live in the middle of nowhere in a tiny cabin. I thought I could learn how she evokes the solitude as I'm writing a short novel on solitude also.
I really have enjoyed a good reading start in this first quarter of 2008 and found a few gems, and Hardings will now be added to that list.
Set in 1616, Thomas Cave, a sailor/whaler takes up a bet to spend a year on, what they think is the east part of Greeland. We are presented with a man craving for solitude. It is slowly revealed to us how Thomas had, before embarking on this particular whaling trip, lived in Denmark with his wife and cobbler father-in-law. However, his wife died giving birth to their son, and Thomas ends up leaving. True to the adage that you can never run away from yourself, Thomas Cave discovers that his wife's ghost is there,…

Reading

I'm reading A Most Dangerous Woman. By L(ee).M. Jackson, Victorian mystery, and The Solitude of Thomas Cave by Georgina Harding, surviving alone in the seventeenth century Arctic. I want to read: Between Two Seas by Marie-Louise Jensen.Belinda's blog:http://belindawebb.blogspot.com

Manchester PhD

I was called up to the University of Manchester yesterday to meet with the Director of the New Writing Centre and discuss my doing a PhD in Creative Writing from this September. I received an email this morning to offer me a place, which I have accepted.
It felt totally surreal because the Manchester Uni district is very familiar ground. I used to spend most of my time just hanging around when I should have been at school. I was also a member of the junior choir at the Holy Name church, which directly faces the student's union on Oxford Road. And, of course, my dad had been a long term patient at the hospital, also on the same road. So it is all quite poignant. I won't be moving up there, however, London is still my home, but I will be up there at least once every two weeks during term time, which will also mean more time with my fast growing neice and nephew.
I am rather nervous, yet excited, at the prospect of working on my proposed novel and critical research that wi…

Puritan, moi?

I am supposed to be working on advanced drafts of two different novels. A self-inflicted 'supposed', that is. But this week I just began a new piece of work. I won't go into any detail about it - like a pregnancy in the first three months, it is far too soon, as I am only 16000 words into the first draft. However, the reason I am posting about it is because in an earlier post I said I had finally discovered a definite bias in my reading for novels that have a very concentrated focus and which use direct language with an almost puritan like tone. I also added that it is a style I too quickly lose faith in whenever I attempt it as a writer. And yet this new piece of work, whose working title is 'hiberbation' is so far in that mould. I feel quite pleased with myself, even though I am also very aware that it could go tits up and become abandoned. What I have learnt over the years is that all writing, no matter the style, the tone, the voice, bad/good whatever, it all…

Churnalism

I'm reallly looking forward to the publication of Nick Davis' new book, Flat Earth News, in which he claims that most of the global news agenda is dictated by PR. Aptly, he calls this churnalism'. Surprise surprise. Hardly! I've worked in PR agencies and currently work in a press related capacity, and that's how it works and it is one of the reasons why I took a four year study break to immerse myself in my passion for literature instead. What I also don't get is this constant hunger for stats - which never hold up on closer inspection. Are we just using information as instant gratification - all surface and no substance?

Arts Council Funding - the full list

At last, Arts Council for England (ACE) have published a full list of those organisations whose funding will not be renewed. It includes Ambit magazine, that glorious home of experimental writing that has been going for donkeys years, and which has the likes of J.G. Ballard on the editorial committee. I'm not sure where this will leave Ambit, up shit creek without a paddle or what but it's a disgrace that such amazingly original creative outlets are being shat upon in favour of Olympics funding, because that's what it boils down to! Check out Ambit Magazine here.

Letters cast brighter light on Pound

The Indie are today running a piece on Ezra Pound and how the publication of letters over a forty year period could help us understand him in a new light. Quite apt considering the previous post on this blog that Penguin's archive is going to be online along with the author/editor correspondence with it - it's all write!

writing for my dad

I dedicated A Clockwork Apple to my dad as he died in March last year. It will soon be a year. It has gone so quick. Too quick for someone who doesn't even really feel as though he has gone anywhere! However, coming upto the first anniversary of his leaving us today my older brother went to arrange the headstone. I wrote the words and now I keep thinking, what would he make of them?
The first line can almost be taken as the opening of an old Irish limerick. The second gives the fact, his name and dates, then a more traditional line follows saying simply that he will be sorely missed. The last three lines are in Irish, a mixture of the traditional, the personal and the political.
Gra go deo!

Books to talk about

World Book Day has whittled down its list of 'books to talk about' to ten. It includes Angela Young's Speaking of Love, which shares the same publisher, Beautiful Books, as my own debut. It's good that three of the titles come from small indie publishers, which goes to show that talent cannot be held back. The winner will be announced on 6th March and will receive £5,000.