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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Posts added in November 2007

Theodor Mommsen

When the Swedish Academy met in 1902 to decide who was to take the second Nobel Prize in Literature, there were, basically, two names on the short-list. Some members, of course, were keen to award the prize to Leo Tolstoy, but a majority in the Academy could not bring themselves to accept the Russian’s radical […]

Cultural Anxiety

At Prospect, Richard Jenkyns discusses what he calls canon anxiety. In a lengthy but never less than interesting essay, Do We Need A Literary Canon? he argues that our sense of belonging, our shared references, must evolve more organically. Consider the most striking literary canonisation of our times. Jane Austen has always been esteemed, and […]

Why Don’t You Stop Talking by Jackie Kay

There are several excellent short stories in this collection. This is a taster from Timing: The copper one threw her arms around the dark one and they kissed at the side of the river. I have never seen a kiss on one of my walks, not a long desperate kiss like that. I had to […]

Write What You Know?

Michael Snyder at The Master’s Artist doesn’t know anything at all. But he still wants to write: So what I have to do is start writing and see what happens. Eventually I get to know the world that comes trickling down from my brain and out of my fingertips. At some point I find a […]

No More Heroes

Dick Jones on Patteran Pages examines the changing role of the hero in our lives: I don’t think I’ve ever had any actual heroes. However, when I was 5 or 6 Winston Churchill’s name still struck gold: we kids in playground & street accepted as an article of faith that he was the warrior-god who […]