When I think about George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, the prime image of the novel for me is that of Winston hunched over in a small enclave of his room, frantically scratching out diary entries. He gains two things from writing: Firstly, an escape from his material reality; secondly an ability to record and transcribe truth, rationalise and make evidence of the reality he knows. Is it so different for us in 2019? Continue reading
Writers are creatures of comfort, rituals and rhythms that we are loathe to break. There’s a fair logic behind many of these: getting stuck with writers’ block is a nightmarish hell, akin to having all your sinuses block up simultaneously while also being creatively constipated. These little tricks are our last defence against the dark. Continue reading
Will it be published? Probably not, novellas are often considered too short. Will it make you the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Hard to say, if you’re extremely lucky, then perhaps. Though you might as well start playing the lottery if that’s your goal. What a novella will do is probably give you a sense of accomplishment. And hey, you can still refer to it as a “book”, so what if it’s a small one?
Holly Hopkins is an award winning poet, having won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition for her debut collection, Soon Every House will have One, as well as the Eric Gregory Award, and the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice amongst others.
With the polar vortex in full swing stateside and temperatures in the UK looking not dissimilar to my current bank balance, the release of Caroline Lea’s Icelandic ghost story/murder mystery, The Glass Woman, could not have come at a better time. Continue reading
The division between STEM and Art is often explained by something inherent, something natural, not nurtured. That some people have logical brains that can compute large amounts of data, and some people have artistic brains that output illogical, beautiful creations into the world. Some people are right-handed, some left; some people are scientists, some are artists. That it has nothing to do with want and everything to do with natural talent.
This idea is poisonous, not least in the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the human experience, but also in that it’s so wrong it stops us thriving in our chosen careers. Continue reading
Writing outlines is all good. Writing each day is even better. Finishing your writing is where it gets really hard.
There’s excitement when you start writing something new, and it doesn’t even have to be a novel! It could that pesky essay, or a poem or a short story. This also goes for all sorts of art: music, painting, sculpture, dance. Continue reading
I must’ve been about eight when I planned my first ‘lesson’.
Lesson objectives were laboriously detailed in a little notebook. I would tinker around on whiteboards with mind-maps. The register was meticulously checked, even when the only ‘students’ in attendance were my stuffed animals (and thus the actual process of calling the register was rendered somewhat redundant). I was young, bright, and in love with learning – and more importantly, in love with teaching. Continue reading
We must move beyond simple claims that writing ‘gives voice’, or is a form of ‘expression’. Language is both before and after the fact: it comes as retrospection and speculation. And its politicization runs deeper than mere content, the surface upon which many young writers roam and remain. We must look at the container that holds the water. Continue reading
It’s hard to find a funny poet – it seems that the vast majority of us are doomed to sit around bemoaning the sad state of the world as it is/was/always will be. It’s even harder to find someone who can be funny without being either superficial or depressing. But somehow, despite the many ways the world has changed for the worse in the four years since My Family and Other Superheroes, Jonathan Edwards has done it: he’s got me laughing again. Continue reading