• I wrote a piece about how my early-century rugby reports for Midsomer Norton rugby club found their way into one of the greatest Oulipian novels written in English. Full article here

    Mar 27,
  • What connects the CIA, Somerset’s Midsomer Norton Rugby Football Club and 1970s experimental literature in Paris? Easy. The answer has to be Harry Mathews. At least, it’s easy for me, because I’m the other connection. The novelist Harry Mathews, the “American Oulipian” who died earlier this year, was an entertaining and reliable correspondent. I could expect letters in fountain pen, on heavy engraved paper, from any of his four addresses. In the early 2000s he would update me on his novel My Life in CIA: A chronicle of 1973. “Part non-fiction, part fiction”, he let me know from New York; “I have a feeling the French will get more of a kick out of it than my fellows here”. Back in

    Mar 26,
  • Uncovering Family Secrets I'm on at 10.00 am with Vanessa Nicolson and John de St Jorre. The programme says: 'Three writers who have uncovered truths buried in their family history discuss why families kept secrets in the past and contrast it with today where we are encouraged to be more open about family tragedies.' Early start to avoid the crush. More information and tickets here.  

    Mar 22,
  • Judging is now under way for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award. Honoured to be on the jury this year, and looking forward to discovering new authors (to me, at least) and great books. With my fellow jurors I'm expecting to read as many as 150 submissions. So far this has been a great reminder that there's always time for reading. Back to it! More information on the 2017 jury here.

    Mar 22,