The muscles of the poplar trees beat about, and the warm night is full of calls, or there is worn-hour haze, but invisible so in a darkness like this, a rain green darkness, and feet follow unseen feet across uncertain ways, between high and waving grass, spatters of mud on legs, boards, slipped shoes and sighs, until at last a light…
read the full flash/prose poem here.
(my portrait by Chris Close at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, taken by D.)
Thank you to everyone who came along to events I was speaking at and to the organisers – Blackwell’s Edinburgh, the wonderful (as always) EIBF, and Amnesty International. Back to quietly writing things.
Here’s a story from Mayhem & Death in Books From Scotland’s Festival edition:
‘A room can have disorder or stains in it. But this room does not, will not. All is in order, now. Let’s take one last look, one long breath in and out. A room in a story cannot be a haunted room, unless the writer puts the ghosts in there, or the suggestion of ghosts into it.’
read the full thing here.
Small sidenote: If you’ve read Mayhem & Death and have opinions on it, please consider leaving a review somewhere to help others make up their mind on whether or not to take a chance on it. If you have a Goodreads account the book can be found here.
(my books for sale at the EIBF bookshop)
A few places to see me reading this week:
Tomorrow, at Blackwell’s Writers at the Fringe (Blackwell’s Edinburgh), from 6pm, with Jonathan Whitelaw, Sam McColl, Noelle Harrison and Robert J Harris (free!). Tickets here.
Friday, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Writer’s Retreat), 6.30pm, with the excellent Camilla Grudova (£8/£6). Tickets here.
Saturday, at the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre), with Roxanne Bouchard, Gina Miller, and Gunnar Staalesen (free) tickets available in box office on the day.
At the first two I’ll be reading from recently published Mayhem & Death– at the Blackwell’s I’ll be reading a story in that collection dedicated to my father. In the third, I’m reading the words of an activist silenced in Edrogan’s Turkey.
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!
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.
This week’s Unsung Letter is from Helena Roots, on an intense book satirising relationships with food, American culture, and other bodies:
I have a tendency, particularly as the days shorten and the cold tightens its grip, to reach for books that warp my own ideas of normality. If I go off-radar in the Autumn and Winter months, and I often do, chances are I’m wrapped up in a blanket, being chewed up and spat out by books just like this.
Read more here…
Subscribe to The Unsung Letter to receive a weekly essay by a different writer / book lover on a book they think is underbeloved and worthy of praise. The archive is available too, if you’d like to have a browse.
Side note: Vol 1. Brooklyn wrote a piece on the rising popularity of Jeff Goldblum and covered my small book which you can pre-order for early December if you haven’t already for the modest sum of £5 (via the link to 404 included in the article).
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)