Latest Blog Entries
May I suggest a bit of early Christmas shopping and helping an incredibly important cause at the same time?
Lots of fabulous authors, agents and publishers are donating their time and books and all sorts of other lovely things to raise money for this cause. You can bid for all sorts of things. I'm trying to think of something to donate - if you have any ideas let me know; it may just have to be a load of dosh.
Black Heart Blue is out in Brazil and Novo Conceito, the Brazilian publisher, is running a pretty cool marketing campaign. Images like this are really stark and powerful. The text comes from the novel and is a translation of this line (I think!)
But you can’t hide poison forever, it has to seep out sometime and I could smell its trails on the air.
Given the typical state of our British summer, I've had plenty of time to read as opposed to doing all those summery things one ought to be doing. Like breathing fresh air. Or weeding the garden. Or yomping in the hills. So here's an update on my favourite reads of the past few months. Rainbow Rowell's beautiful Eleanor and Park and Phil Earle's Heroic are both excellent and will appeal to adult and YA readers alike. Eleanor and Park is a love story that had me blubbing and turning the pages in anticipation right up to the very end. In fact, I read the end several times, not quite believing the story was over. And especially over in THAT way. Thanks to the joy of Twitter I've asked the author for a sequel. Will potentially resort to bribery to force this to happen. That's how much I love it.
I've also read a couple of novels from the Orange Prize shortlist. Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple made me laugh out loud (huge respect for writers who can do this) as did A M Homes May We Be Forgiven. The latter is particularly clever and while both are satirical I think the depth and assured polish of Homes' novel might mean she takes the prize. Not that my opinion counts! I haven't yet read the others from the list - not sure I'm excited enough about the premise of Zadie Smith's NW to do so and whilst I'm a massive fan of Kate Atkinson, again, I'm not overly tempted. But we'll see. Another corker is Lionel Shriver's Big Brother. She writes so well about dysfunctional families and although I loathed almost every single one of her characters the novel was addictive, fascinating and riddled with the darkest humour.
As for my next book - yes I am writing it , and no I haven't finished. Writing "the dreaded second novel" really is as horrible as everyone tells you it will be! But I'm saving that story up for another post. Currently, my lips are sealed for fear of the jinx effect.
Click the link to see for yourself! The clip says it all...
So when I'm not trying to write novels, or when my children are at school, my other job is as an English teacher. Today we looked at a poem by Wendy Cope - On Finding an Old Photograph. It conveys Cope's feelings on discovering a picture of her father taken before she was born and is both beautiful and moving.
The beauty comes in the honesty, the laying of the self bare. There is nothing obscure or pretentious in the language Cope uses and this is why the emotion is so raw, I think. This is when literature really works, isn't it, when it creates connections between people who have never even met. It's amazing how human experience can be translated when given artistic form, be it as poetry, as music, theatre or prose - creating waves of emotion that spread through an audience. Reading Wendy Cope's poem made me think of my own ambivalent feelings about looking at pictures of my children when they were younger ( they still are pretty young, so we're only talking about a few years ago). I always get a huge lump in my throat and can't bear to watch the many, many films my husband made of those days. I suppose it's the feeling that time has passed and is passing, a time which you can never reclaim, a feeling which then becomes painfully present through those precious images.