Skip to main content

Inspiring Mowzell

This week I've taken myself off to Mousehole (Mowzell), a couple of miles down from Newlyn and Penzance. What is it about writers and out-of-season seaside places? Although, to be fair, Mousehole could hardly be called 'seaside', for that conjures up images of sandy beaches. No, Mousehole is a harbour, and is full of craggy charm. It is where Dylan Thomas once stayed, amongst many others. I've managed to get a fair bit of editing done, but as yet, very little writing, but it's still only Monday, so I'm hoping that, my the time Saturday arrives, I will be going away with a fair bit! It's not all head down writing though, tomorrow morning I'll be off to Newlyn Art Gallery, once home of the Newlyn School of artists, who are now housed in Penzance's Penlee Art Gallery. Newlyn, I've just learned, was also home to Chartist leader, William Lovett, fortuitious/serendipitous as the Chartists feature in the background of the novel I've come here to work on. That reminds me, I'm going to post a list of novels that feature Cornwall - one of my favourite of recent years was the debut novel by Peter Hobbs, The Short Day Dying, set here at the end of the nineteenth century, and not at all romantic, but full of poetic cragginess and suffering!

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Midwinter Break - Bernard McLaverty

The only other book that I've read of Bernard MacLaverty was the sublime Grace Notes, published in 1997, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the same year. That prize was awarded to an author of another similar hiatus recently broken, Arundhati Roy, of the widely acclaimed The God of Small Things. I was certain, when buying the kindle version of Midwinter Break, that MacLaverty's first book in seventeen years (Cal, 2001, was his most recent) had made both the Booker Longlist and Shortlist - but having just double-checked - am disappointed and confused to find it had made neither. MacLaverty's prose style feels Yatesian, after the late Richard Yates, US author of Revolutionary Road, and TheEaster Parade
Midwinter Break, set in Amsterdam, is written in the same deliciously clear and poignant prose that so widely marked out Grace Notes. The husby and I have not long returned from a late summer break in that same fabulous city. With the visit to the Rijksmuseum still fre…