Showing posts from August, 2020

On Repeat: N M Browne

  I am really bored of the sound of my own voice. Not just my writing voice, which I’ve barely exer cised recently, more my actual physical   chatting into a camera voice. The new term is coming up and my face to face course on ‘writing for children’ has been put online.   I’ve been asked to record a series of ten lectures for online delivery: it is so much harder than I’d expected.     I don’t mind imagining an audience – I’m a writer after all and I can imagine most things – a chamber full of orcs, a classroom buzzing with sentient story telling bees, even a diverse group of adults peering into their screens from anywhere in the world (which is actually what is supposed to happen.) In my mind these virtual students, even the orcs, are attentive and impressed. We will see what happens when my fantasies come up against reality in due course.     I hope these imaginary students are less bored by my voice than I am, but then they only have to listen to me once. I have had to record each

What Is Writing For -- a Guest Post by Jan Needle

Lying Doggo by Jan Needle Most   people use this blog   more or less non-politically. Which is probably a good idea. However, there comes a time when politics seems impossible to avoid. Such as now, for instance. The way I see it, Britain, and possibly the whole world, is moving towards a pre-fascistic state. In America we have Donald Trump, of whom the least said the better, but England, rather than Britain,   seems hell bent on catching up. My father would probably have disagreed, but I always assumed we were a pretty moral nation. Or as Tony Blair once put it (key hollow laugh) 'pretty straight'. But what can   one make of a government that appears to be run by a man who does not apparently know the difference between truth and lies? Who has as his ’Sidekick’ a person who expects us to believe the way to get an eye test is to drive three dozen miles with a baby in his car. Presumably, if all goes well, his eyes are fine. If not – so what? A government filled w

Time-Travelling Through Our Own Lives -- Andrew Crofts

  I recently met a young man of about thirty and only after talking to him for a while, did I discover that over forty years ago, I had interviewed his great grandmother, who had been a showgirl for Charles B. Cochran in the nineteen twenties. At the time of the interview I guess I was in my twenties and she seemed to me like a visitor from a bygone age. She received me in her crumbling Kensington townhouse, dressed in the only “tea gown” that I have ever come across actually being worn for afternoon tea; an extremely lacey confection in my memory. The young man had never met the lady himself, merely being aware of her from family legends, and I was struck by how closely linked we all are to history, particularly as we grow older ourselves. I received another phone call this week from an author who has been commissioned to write a definitive biography of a recently deceased television performer/household name. He had come across my name because, on the first page of his subject’

When You Tell A Lie, Make It A Big One -- Susan Price

My three Sterkarm books have many adult readers but they were originally written and published as Young Adult. Bad Girl by Susan Price   Bad Girl is the first novel I’ve written with an adult audience always in mind. A friend said she loved its 'audacious' plotting but kept thinking: ‘That wouldn’t happen. Nobody would do that.’ Every time she thought this, she told me, there followed several minutes of thought, at the end of which she had to admit that it could happen. She just found it hard to believe. Consider this blog a public service, then, because the events in Bad Girl are actually very plausible. Chillingly plausible. I did my research. Let me put this unhappy scenario before you, while hoping that it never comes to pass: A member of your family— a daughter, a niece, a cousin— reveals that she has terminal cancer. She’s broke but desperately wants to take her child to Disneyland before she dies, to leave the child with one lovely, happy memory. Yo