From 404’s lit magazine launch at Summerhall
Ahead of the (by the way excellent) launch of 404’s 3rd edition of their magazine (on the theme of Power – available here) event hosts Interrobang interviewed me and other performers Ross McLeary, Siobhan Shields and Kaite Welsh. Click through to see what I’d like for a superpower and my favourite song with the word “power” in it.
I also got to see The Goldblum Variations in the flesh for the first time (as well as hearing some fab surreal stories, hanging out with good folk and buying myself some 404 merch and copy of the Hings B-sides). Fantastic!
Just in time to help with any festive gift-giving, here’s a bumper Unsung Letter, highlighting the contributors of this year, and letting you know what they’ve been up to since their letters were published. The spirit of the letter itself is to highlight living writers with books you can read, so in the showcase you’ll find handy links to works and stories, along with plenty of seasonal gifs to make you feel cosy (even if outside it’s dismal. Or sunny)
Read the whole thing here (bring a warm beverage, it’s a long one)
Or sign up here for The Unsung Letter, a weekly missive on an underpraised book by a living author, written by a writer/book lover each time.
This week’s letter is from Aliya Whiteley, on a powerful book with a trauma at the centre, and what it has taught her about bravery in writing:
A ballet dancer – an evocative profession, with outward grace and inner strength, and connotations of control, of beauty – is abducted, chained, made into a sexual object. The dancer thinks, as time passes in a new reality:
Did I bring this upon myself? I flaunted my body. I invited attention through my profession. I wanted people to look at me.
This week, Naomi Frisby of the excellent The Writes of Woman gives her recommendation:
Recently, I’ve found myself championing experimental fiction written by women. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s a genre where I think women are producing the most interesting and innovative work and two, if you looked to mainstream coverage of experimental fiction written by women you might believe it begins and ends with Eimear McBride.
Why, I wonder, does experimental fiction by women go largely ignored?
Read the full letter here. Subscribe here for a weekly missive by a different writer on an underpraised book that deserves a wider audience than the quiet of the void. Stay tuned for a giant Christmas Unsung Letter in the coming weeks (once I get to it – it’s huge!)
Obligatory reminder in the run-up to the festive season – you can buy The Goldblum Variations for £5 here – it’s a collection of Jeff Goldblum stories. Perfect stocking filler/surprise placemat for the Jeff Goldblum appreciator in your life (or anyone who likes absurdist fun). Also if you’d like to get my novel Flesh of the Peach on its rapidly-dwindling print run, you can buy it here (worldwide free shipping) or from your local indie bookshop.
Now available to pre-order is a book I did not expect to write: The Goldblum Variations. Here’s the cover, from 404 Ink:
The idea came from a prompt from writer Gillian Best for The Paperchain Podcast. I wrote a short, absurdist collection of microfictions for the podcast, then went on to write a whole book of them, including such chapters as:
Past Lives of Jeff Goldblum
Bingo Goldbingo (Jeff Goldblum Bingo)
Fragments of Jeff Goldblum
Checking in with Jeff Goldblum on Alternative Earths
and many more.
I promise a joyous, weird experience rich in Jeff Goldblumness. At only 40 pages, it makes the ideal stocking stuffer for Christmas too.
Pre-order it here (only £5 + £1 postage)
This week, Heather Parry brings us a book of negative spaces, nothingness, and arts funding:
There are a lot of things they don’t tell you when you become a Jobbing Writer. You know that you’re never going to be rich and that you’ll always have that chip on your shoulder about the myriad book deals that are seemingly flung at the famous—but they don’t tell you that 50% of your time will be spent waiting for a rejection and 50% of it will be writing proposals.
For the modern writer, trying to convince people to give you money is half the work. We consistently have to put forward our ideas, in the most artsy language possible, and make them seem interesting, worthwhile, and most of all, fundable.
Intrigued as to what the project might be? Read more here.
As ever, you can sign up to receive The Unsung Letter by email here – and I recommend you do. Each week, a different writer or book lover writes you an essay on a book they love which has not attracted enough attention for its brilliance.
This week, Emily Morris brings to our attention a children’s book worthy of adult readers:
I’m writing to tell you about a beautiful book I devoured in one devastating sitting. It’s a breathtakingly bleak little novel, with authentic characters, a vital message and deftly stark prose. And it’s likely to go unnoticed by the vast majority of adults, which is why I think it’s deserving of an Unsung Letter.
Read more here
Sign up to The Unsung Letter here – make sure you keep up to date with weekly, insightful, moving, and funny essays from different writers and book lovers on underpraised works by living authors. Guaranteed to boost your to-be-read pile with fresh excellence you might have otherwise missed.