Dear independent bookshops, No matter how listless I've felt, or how boring everything seemed, you were always there to make me happy. From The Scan Bookshop in Cumbernauld, Scotia Books in Kilsyth, Edinburgh Bookshop, and The Book Nook, you've all been there for me in different ways. Not all of you are here any more.… Continue reading Indie bookshops, this is for you!
Most writers arrive fully-formed, their debut novel hailed as something special and original. That or they're just ignored and left to fend for themselves. The word ‘debut’ carries a special cache around the publishing industry. I started off performing live shows, writing my own stories, hoping to be published one day. Twilight was a huge… Continue reading The Path to Happiness
There we were, laughing and chatting, when suddenly we realised we weren't alone. This isn't unusual in a public building, in our case the local library. I'd been put on a shift with Andrea and we were enjoying ourselves. I'd always found it easy to chat with Andrea, whose sense of silliness matched my own.… Continue reading Do you feel the need for tweed?
Originally serialised in Playboy Magazine (in Japan) between May to October of 1968, Life For Sale wasn’t available to read in The UK for decades. Thankfully Penguin Classics decided to turn Yukio Mishima’s stories into a novel and, with the help of Stephen Dodd’s translation which makes the story accelerate along, this classic by is… Continue reading Life For Sale by Yukio Mishima
Now that the news is out about Happiness Is Wasted On Me (it’s available to pre-order hint hint hint), I can’t get myself sorted for actually getting out and about, promoting it. I’ve been speaking to some venues, looking at doing live shows, or literary salons. They’re the only salons I go to! Everything is… Continue reading Walking back to Happiness…
Hello. I'm glad you're here. Alright, let me set the scene. It's cold outside. Really cold. From where I'm seated, middle-cushion on the couch with the window facing me, it looks like the biggest bag of icing sugar in the world has been sprinkled over my garden. My living room is warm. I'm drinking hot… Continue reading My New Book
I can't quite imagine how Ottessa pitched this novel to her agent. The main character goes unnamed and the story follows her efforts to sleep for a full year. How? Through pills, pills, and more pills. She should have asked my brother. He can take up to twenty-five Valium and remain somewhat awake. We've even… Continue reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
When my mother took a nervous breakdown (her fourth in a week), she was prescribed a book by her GP. “Fuck reading the book,” she snarled. “I want Valium.” In theory, the NHS scheme of giving patients a list of books to make them feel better is a worthy thing to do. In practice, most… Continue reading Banana Yoshimoto Is Good For You
Some writers defy categorisation. They cannot be filed, stamped, or absorbed. Yes, you may find their books in certain areas of the book shop or the library, but essentially these writers remain difficult to anticipate, their work always surprising and interesting. I'd place Francesca Lia Block, Cory Doctorow, Sam Pink, Kathy Acker, Jason Starr, Jeff… Continue reading I Wanted To Write About Robert Cormier
I've spent the last few years writing fiction for younger people. I'm quite happy with what I've put out so far, because there's a market for weird books for the weirdo teens. I was one myself, and I always wanted to write books that I would have read at that age. But being an author… Continue reading Spite And Malice At High School