Blog Posts


I’ve been reading quite a lot about literary minimalism as I embark on another draft of the novel.  It’s been interesting to re-read early Hemingway, for example Fiesta, which is a good example.  Minimalism was an art movement formed after the Second World War, mostly...

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From Outline to Novel

Over the last twelve months for nearly every waking moment I can spare when not working, I have been writing feverishly, first a feature-length screenplay as the last component of my Master’s course, and then the novel (see my previous blog). The reason for the rush...

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Writing from Memory

I’m sitting here by candlelight, on a hot summer’s evening in Sarajevo.  It’s been a hot day, well up in the thirties, and the night has drifted by.  Now, just after midnight, it’s dark, and quiet on the street outside, and I’m here, staring at my usual spot on the...

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Jim Jarmush & Drafting

Last night I sat in a semi-deserted cinema in Sarajevo watching ‘Paterson’. It’s a film by Jim Jarmush about a poet who drives a bus in suburban New Jersey.  It’s very Jarmush: off-beat, slow, full of staged wondering.  It’s also very beautiful.  What I particularly...

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Why the MFA?

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Vancouver, at the University of British Columbia, on the UBC summer writers’ residency. UBC is a huge university, with a beautiful campus. It’s situated in a perfect location steps from the famous, or notorious, Wreck Beach, with its...

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Storytelling in Quebec City

The ImagiNation Festival in Quebec City was great fun. It was cold for Spring, even by Quebec standards, a chilly -9 C at times. But, despite the cold, it was still exciting to wander the streets of the old town, and stand by the citadel, in the shadow of the statue...

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As trailed in my previous blog, I’ll be reading in Quebec City on Saturday 10th March, as a guest of Quebec City’s ImagiNation 2016 Literary Festival. There’s a fantastic line-up of first class authors over the five days of the festival, in a beautiful city. It’s...

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Writing, and Reading

How much of the meaning a poem or piece of fiction, is provided by the writer? And how much by the reader? And does it matter whether it’s read, or heard? On a night flight out of Toronto, heading for Munich, I find myself thinking about these questions. I’ve been...

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Poetry & Time

December 1819 was an unhappy month for the poet John Keats.  His beloved younger brother, Tom, had died of tuberculosis on 1 December, while Keats nursed him in their dank, two-bed apartment on Well Walk in Hampstead.  Keats himself had a persistent sore throat,...

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Paying my respects at Verdun

It’s been a while since my last blog. That’s mostly because I have been incredibly busy setting up in a new city. No matter how many times I move – and I seemed to have moved pretty much ever two years for the last ten – it never gets easier. The last stage was...

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