The Day Before

My brother died on a Saturday. That morning we’d left him and my sister to mind the shop while Mutti took me on her errands. In the summer of 1939 she’d only just started working as a seamstress of sorts. Letting out waistbands, taking in waistbands, changing the neckline of a dress to make it look entirely new – odd jobs that were quick but required an experienced hand to get those neat, parallel stitches. It was all the fault of the church coffee ladies. Mutti had taken over the social club at the start of the year, and the minute those crow-eyed omas got their claws on her embroidered napkins, her fate was sealed. Continue reading

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Write What You Don’t Know

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

You’re Not A Wizard, Harry: Demystifying Writing

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

Jonathan Edwards’ “Gen”: A Human Comedy

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

Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young

We That Are Young is the debut novel from Warwick academic and human rights activist Preti Taneja. The novel is a modern reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear, transplanting the tragedy from the castles of Medieval Britain into the meeting rooms of the hospitality industry in modern day India. It was awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize for new fiction in 2018. Continue reading

Poetry on the Canals – An Interview with Jessica Kashdan-Brown

Jessica Kashdan-Brown is a current Warwick Writing Programme (WWP) student, poet, and writer, originally from Bath. Her current project, the Bath Canal Poetry Route, works with the help of the Canal & River Trust to place poetry in the locks of the Bath canals, such that the poem changes as the water in the lock rises and falls.

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Jonathan Edwards In His Own Words

Jonathan Edwards’ first poetry collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren Books, 2014), was the winner of the 2014 Costa Poetry Award. His humorous poetry covers life growing up in Wales, filled with characters from Evel Knievel to Marty McFly to bicycling nuns. He holds an MA in Writing from Warwick, and currently teaches in Wales.

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