Showing posts from June, 2018
Debbie Young Evokes Her Dream Office (with a little help from the National Trust...) "Where do you write?" asked a very pleasant lady at a talk I gave recently to the Cheltenham Writers' Circle.

I gave my standard answer: how lucky I am to have my own study in my Victorian Cotswold cottage, with a big desk facing a window that looks out over the garden.

But next morning, when I sat down to write there, I shrieked as a sharp pain shot from my spine to my ankle, reminding me that lately I had been spending far too long at my desk-with-a-view - and I felt desirous of change.

Prompted by the arrival of my new National Trust card in the post the day before, and licensed by my friend and mentor Orna Ross to fill the creative well with a weekly "create date" with self, I stowed my purse, my shades, and my notebook and pen into my backpack, donned my walking boots, and set off to nearby Dyrham Park.

Ok, I confess, I drove there (well, it is about eight miles away) - bu…

Athens mother of arts and eloquence: N M Browne

I am writing this having just had the delightful experience of teaching creative writing at the British Council/Kingston University Summer School in Athens.

It was a great experience because it was in Athens; because it was in the Summer; and because I got to see the Acropolis for the first time. Need I go on? It was also great because I really like teaching as it obliges me to think about writing in a slightly more analytical way, to formulate different ways of expressing familiar ideas and to challenge some of my lazier habits.

The main reason it was great, however, was because the people I met were all amazing. The majority were native Greek speakers whose grasp of even idiomatic English was phenomenal.This always makes me feel inadequate and humble because all I do is write in my native language and these ‘students’ have jobs which involve specialist knowledge, in engineering, business and God knows what altogether and yet they can also write interestingly and well in a foreign lang…

Magic bowls, Greed, and a very Sharp-Horned Dilemma by Enid Richemont

And so he's finally out there - my miserable and reclusive Stan who is actually extremely lonely and longing for human contact, along with his decidedly acerbic fairy godmother who's seemingly stuck with the job of giving him his "ONE HUNDRED WISHES." It's always lovely to see new books, and Franklin Watts production standards are very high, so however small the story, it's always satisfying to see the results.

Next to come, in July, will be "MORE", an Indian variation on the story of the magic bowl which keeps re-filling for as long as its owner stays polite and grateful, which, of course, the guy who steals it won't, as he NEVER says thank you, and regards the bowl's never-ending bounty as his privileged right. Here he is on the left, fat and pompous, and all ready to grab your very last crumb. His small daughter's quite different, though, and may one day change everything, because hey! Girls are powerful, especially little ones.

I am a…

Lord Byron and the Morality Clause - Andrew Crofts

“Byron, is that you?” John Murray shook the receiver in the hope of clearing the line. “These international lines are bloody terrible …”
“Murray,” Byron shouted back down the line, “what do you want? Things are pretty hectic here.”
“How’s the holiday going?”
“Oh, you know what the foreigners are like. Lots of good swimming though. Just planning a trip to attack some Turks who are holed up in this castle. What can I do for you? Books selling alright?”
“Yes, sales are good."

"Public still think I'm a genius?"

"Up to a point ... but we have a bit of a problem, old man.”
“We’re going to have to let you go, I’m afraid, pulp what we’ve got left of your scribblings.”
“What are you talking about, man?”
“It’s the media you see. They’re kicking up a bit of a fuss about your private life, the way you treat people … it’s all very silly, I know.”
“What do you mean, the way I treat people? You’re not making sense, man.”
“Well it’s the way you keep buggering ever…

Sanskriti: A Different Kind of Literary Meet in Boston, by Dipika Mukherjee