Writing On Literature

  • The Arvon Foundation is one of the great, perhaps the greatest, of UK Creative Writing institutions. I first went to Sheepwash to read in about 1997, and then taught my first course a year later with Andrew Cowan. If you don't know the set-up, about 15 writers get a residential week in a beautiful house and setting (there are two other centres in Shropshire and Yorkshire) while over the week a pair of more established writers offer up their insights about the craft and experience of writing. Half-way through, another writer visits to read, and this is what I'll be doing at Totleigh Barton on the 9th August. Our course is called Life Writing: Writing Family History, with Marina Benjamin

    Aug 02,
  • The Manchester Deansgate Waterstones is always a fantastic place to read, and many years ago I was half of a double-bill with the great Robert Stone. His novel Damascus Gate was published in the UK at about the same time, in 1998, as my novel Damascus. His book is set in Jerusalem and mine has nothing to do with the Middle East. He was a revered American novelist and I ... I was not. It seems fairly certain that someone in the shop had mixed up one Damascus with another, and we ended up in the same shop in Manchester on the same midweek night. Everyone was very polite and pretended it wasn't a mistake, including Robert Stone, who drank the Deansgate whiskey and grumbled wise sayings

    May 30,
  • "Curious is a festival like no other. Taking place each July in the breathtaking grounds of Pylewell Park, it is dreamy, eccentric, fun and ultimately, irresistible." More about the festival across the website but the amazing line-up of writers is here.

    May 30,
  • This is a fantastic festival, and probably the only event for book-lovers where you can see Roman legionnaires riding on a Sherman tank. I'll be talking about the research for The Day That Went Missing, and how family history also counts as History. More details here.

    May 30,
  • I was asked to write an Opinion piece for the Observer about reaction to the publication of The Day that Went Missing, including my own reaction to having written a memoir. How does it feel once it's out there? What was the point? 'Now I’m faced with the question of what happens next. What is a memoir actually for? There seems to be a lot of memoir about, but I can only speak for myself and wordsearching the typescript I discover the book contains 434 instances of the word Nicholas or variants. I have filled the pages with Nicky, with Nick-Nack, Nickelpin, Pinwin, all my brother’s various rescued nicknames. His solo photograph in beach-tinted Kodacolor is bold on a hardback

    May 03,