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Writing freestyle and Not the Booker...

I've surprised myself with the few fiction books I've managed to read thus far this summer, and the poetry too. I have also reviewed a fair few non-fiction titles. But in the next week I shall have to stop and refocus my efforts on my own writing. Although when I say writing, what I mean is the novel-in-progress and the critical element. I have managed much other writing - a bit of screen writing (pending), poetry (which surprised me, arriving as it did, 'organically') and now I've just set myself a challenge - to write one short story that has not been planned in any way. Just a whisp of an idea and away you go. It's a bit scary writing on a whim because I could so easily, and maybe wil, end up with nothing worth reading - but in and of itself it will be an interesting task. The whisp of the idea came from looking at a random photograph that was posted by someone else on Facebook. It set something nostalgic off within myself, so I thought writing about it would help me dig and uncover what it was.

The Guardian's books blog has also launched this years Not the Booker - I've nominated Joseph O'Connor's Ghost Light - how this could have been left off the Booker longlist - at the very least, is astonishing, particularly when one thinks of titles such as The Slap having made it instead. Anyway. I also discovered that Ian Holding has just published his second novel, Of Beasts and Beings, which was reviewed for The Guardian by Diana Evans. Now I'll know that there's another book to read this year, after I've gotten hold of Franzen's Freedom. Ian Holding's debut novel, a few years ago now, was Unfeeling, which I may have written about on this blog at the time. It was a marvellous, tragic, beautiful work and if this second work lives up to it then I'm in for a great read. I'm also heartened by the fact that his second book has not come out within a year of his debut. So many new writers do that. It makes me nervous, especially since I'm still working on my (official) second!

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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…

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