Launching ‘The Descent of the Lyre’ in Bulgaria

It was almost seven years ago that I was last in Bulgaria for two months of research towards my novel, The Descent of the Lyre. Back then, I spent two months travelling around the mountains with my guitar, funded by a grant from Arts Council England, drinking brandy with pensioners, visiting small provincial museums and hillside churches, collecting stories. And now, seven years on, I’m heading back for the launch of the Bulgarian edition of the book.

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Creative Writing, Talent and Hanif Kureishi

Recently Hanif Kureishi has been whipping up several storms in several teacups over the (not very interesting) question of whether it is possible to teach creative writing. I remain baffled as to why creative writing is seen as the one single subject that is considered to be inherently unteachable, but there you go… Anyway, I’ve got a short piece this week in the Times Higher Education on this whole debate, and on my scepticism about the notion of “talent”. The link is here. You may need to sign up (for free) to read the piece, or you can have a look in this week’s edition of the THE.

Happy Belated World Book Day

Yesterday was World Book Day, and somewhere in the misty north of England, there were Snorgh-related activities afoot at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books (see the gallery of the Snorgh’s world travels here). But meanwhile I was back down in the Midlands working through a rather long to-do list. However, because I felt it necessary to celebrate World Book Day by idling with some book or other, this morning I belatedly took an hour or so to start reading Daniel Pennac’s truly lovely The Rights of the Reader. Read more

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