Saturday, 17 September 2011


*Takes deep breath* Here's a bit of self-publicity - off to the Chiswick Book Festival tomorrow, to talk about my new book "How to be a Writer", which is published on 3 November. (Spot the synergy there?) I'm one of a sort of smorgasbord of people who will join Celia Brayfield to talk about being a 21st century writer.

So what is my key message to the Chiswick book folk? That times are changing in publishing land, and no one knows where we are heading, but if you want to negotiate from a position of strength, be the proud owner of a lot of words.

When I sent my first novel opening off to my first agent, twenty years ago, I was sending her all the words I possessed, hastily typed up from a few scrawled sheets of A4. I had no plot, no direction, and precious little characterization. And when she (quite rightly) pointed out the shortcomings of this draft, I was utterly bereft, and had no other words to fall back on.

Be focused, be professional, but above all - be prolific. As Virginia Woolf said, "What one wants for writing is habit."  More on this later...

Saturday, 10 September 2011


How much Bronte can we take? More specifically, how much Jane Eyre? It's on at the Duke of York's down't road and I toyed with idea of going to see it tonight, in an open-minded sort of way, but thought - No! So I am, after a long silence, blogging about a film I haven't seen, and don't propose to see, even on LoveFilm, probably. Which is very post-modern of me, or perhaps just lazy. With so much Stuff to see and so much Comment to absorb, perhaps it is sane and restful to occasionally have a little ruminate about things you aren't seeing, or doing, or even thinking, and opinions that you haven't got.
And just in case this seems a bit info-lite, here is a link to a piece by Blake Morrison who has seen it, has loads of opinions, and is actually from Yorkshire.