Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
1. She’s part of a new breed of English woman that’s taken to wearing top hats as a fashion statement. Given that she’s very tall (6’3”), this can be quite intimidating for the shorter man
2. Although Aliya’s dislike of tomatoes is well documented, what isn’t so well known (because she’s a little embarrassed about it) is her love of tomato ketchup, which she pours on practically all savoury foods, including salads and soups. Eurch.
3. Due to taking pity on a new classmate who had moved to Aliya’s hometown from a neighbouring county during primary school, who everyone else ignored as her grasp of English wasn’t the greatest, Aliya is fluent in Cornish.
4. Aliya hates cheap tea.
5. Aliya has a collection of yellow dungarees that she has bought from ebay. It currently numbers four pairs, but I’d be unsurprised if this grows along with her success as an author.
6. One of Aliya’s uncles is Dave Brock from seventies space-rockers Hawkwind.
Friday, 25 April 2008
I’ve recently agreed to make the odd contribution to the Big Blog of Marvel, a new blog commenting on all things magical realist. The founder, Tamara Sellman, has asked for a picture and bio, which a lot of places do now, but which set me thinking. On Serendipity we do the same, and the magazine somehow seems to have one of the finest-faced bunch of contributors around. I promise this isn’t intentional. I don’t go around asking good looking women to submit stories, but that doesn’t stop them from doing so. (In fact, the people I have actually approached for submissions tend to be big fellas with beards, a lá Jeffrey Ford and Steven Savile). As well as the Pootle herself, there are an increasing number of others: Phyllis Anderson, Maria de la Rosa, Joanna Gardner, Julie K Rose, Kate Aton-Osias, Flavia Baralle, E Nesbit (okay, so she didn’t actually submit her story, but she fits in with the crowd)…
There was an article in one of the literary supplements a year or so ago asking whether we choose books based just as much on the way the author looks, as the blurb or recommendations. One of the examples given was of Peter Høeg, author of Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. I can’t say I bought the book myself for Pete’s striking Nordic looks (I bought it because I liked the cover), but I think this is a valid point. I mean, would you buy a book written by this man. No, I thought not. Seriously though, Steve Redwood submitted a really old picture of himself for the publicity shot for Prime’s edition of Fisher of Devils, as he was worried that not being a Hollywood-faced thirty-something with Zadie Smith and Toby Litt for pals would somehow impact on his success. The thing is, I’ve a feeling he might be right. The only other option is for him to put on a few pounds around the waist and grow his beard out a bit. Am I wrong here? Don DeLillo seems to make a point of not wanting his image used to market his books, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of Michael Chabon either. Are they both really ugly, or do they just have a level of literary integrity and a lack of ego missing in most writers?
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Reasons I write that sound like cryptic crossword clues:
- Masochistic tendency enjoys courting constant rejection
- Too much un-used ink in the world
- Large and not entirely stable ego
Two rubbish sentiments often spouted by writers:
- I don’t read much fiction anymore. I’m too busy
I know sensible people steer clear of breaking things down into numbered lists such as the above and having favourite things. I don’t think I’ve got a particular favourite anything else, but I do have a favourite book and I think it’s unlikely to be toppled from its pedestal any time soon. The book is Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban. It’s not for everyone. For a start it’s written in a broken down and re-constructed version of English and is set in post-apocalypse
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Saturday, 5 April 2008
And on the punctuation front, the Independent discusses semi-colons.
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
But can I just record for posterity, none of the exclamation marks in the book are mine. And there are 36 of them.