Sunday, 31 August 2008

SW11 Literary Festival

I know I said I wasn't going to post for a while because I'm writing ... but I thought you might like to know that the SW11 (London) Literary Festival begins on Monday 8 September and ends on Monday 29 September.

Here's what Wandsworth Council - the organisers - say about it:

The SW11 Literary Festival 2008 is going to be one of the most exciting so far. Apart from a programme of excellent writers there are a number of creative writing workshops, from poetry to playwriting, to starting a novel. There is also an event devoted entirely to chocolate! The legendary Quiz is back, get a team together and turn up at the Latchmere Pub for a great evening of Literary fun.
Victoria Hislop and Will Self and Ruth Rendell will be appearing, among many others, including the wonderful storyteller Jan Blake who'll be running a storytelling workshop. And I'm going to do a Speaking of Love talk and reading on Wednesday 24 September @ 7pm at Battersea Library, Lavender Hill, SW11.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Writing, not Posting

I am writing or, more to the point, doing this before I write. I have laid the foundations and now I'm building the trellises and the supports around which the plants of my story will grow.

(image found here)

I still agree with John Fowles when he says that writing is an organic process. He wrote this, on pages 85 & 86 of my copy of The French Lieutenant's Woman:

You may think novelists always have fixed plans to which they work, so that the future predicted by Chapter One is always inexorably the actuality of Chapter Thirteen. But novelists write for countless different reasons. ... Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create worlds as real as, but other than the world that is. Or was. This is why we cannot plan. We know a world is an organism, not a machine. We also know that a genuinely created world must be independent of its creator; a planned world (a world that fully reveals its planning) is a dead world.

but living breathing organisms also need a purpose and a direction and, as they grow, they conceal, and can replace, the 'planned world' - the pergolas, around which they began their growth.

When the pergolas and the trellises are completed, I shall write.

So I won't be posting for some time.

I don't know how long.

But, for the moment, the MATs have flown.

(image found here)

Monday, 4 August 2008

The Booker Longlist

I'm a bit late ... it was announced on 29 July, here, but here they are:

Aravind Adiga The White Tiger
Gaynor Arnold Girl in a Blue Dress
Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture
John Berger From A to X
Michelle de Kretser The Lost Dog
Amitav Ghosh Sea of Poppies
Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs
Mohammed Hanif A Case of Exploding Mangoes
Philip Hensher The Northern Clemency
Joseph O'Neill Netherland
Salman Rushdie The Enchantress of Florence
Tom Rob Smith Child 44
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole

My excuse for lateness is that I've been here:

and saw him:

by David Cerny in front of his
museum. (Although this statue of him isn't in front of his museum, it's in the Jewish quarter where he lived.)

And then we saw Mucha's glorious stained glass window:here.

However, back to the Booker point, and I find myself, like Simon at Stuck in a Book, not having read a single longlisted title. But I love the sound of Girl in a Blue Dress - particularly because it was published by Tindal Street Press, a small press, although I've just discovered that it's not published until 14 August, and I've heard Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture not only tipped to win, but highly praised.

And John Berger, if my memory isn't fooling me, gave at least half his 1972 Booker Prize winnings, for G, to the Black Panthers in protest at the Booker's sugar-trade funding. (The latest Berger I've read is Here is Where We Meet, which is quite wonderful. It is, at least in part - and again if my memory isn't deserting me - a fictional encounter with his dead mother who is, beautifully and heartbreakingly, more alive than he is and so teaches him how to live.)