Doing Literary Nothing

An email arrived in my inbox this morning, and in the email was a fantastic life-enhancing tip that I simply had to share — because you too can lose pounds and pounds by doing literary nothing!

And the best thing of all is that it really works! I have been doing literary nothing for years now, and can’t even begin to calculate the number of pounds that I have lost as a result.

Literary Nothing
Literary Nothing

Press Clippings from Bulgaria

I’ve been sent a few media clippings from the recent launch of Произходът на лирата (The Descent of the Lyre) in Bulgaria, so I thought I’d upload them here. You can click the tabs below, and download the articles as PDF files.

An interview with Presa/Преса, published on 16th April 2014.




A write-up in Weekend/Уикенд, 5th-11th April 2014.




And finally a brief feature in Monitor/Монитор from 5th April, 2014.



A Blog Post about Hospitality, Books and Big Sticks

In the town of Omurtag, Hasan the geographer welcomed me with a story about the perils of refusing hospitality. Hasan is a vigorous man in his late forties, and he is locally famous for his fierce home-made rakia (although, being a Muslim, he doesn’t drink any of it himself). He has about him an air of restless intellectual curiosity. He is an Esperanto speaker, an expert on the history of local place names, a respected scholar, a translator, and a compiler of collections of folk tales. Read more

Photo Gallery from Sofia Launch

Photographs from the Sofia launch of The Descent of the Lyre in Bulgarian translation, Произходът на лирата on 8th April 2014.

Thanks to all the photographers, and to everybody involved! It was a great evening.

Back in Sofia, Seven Years On

It’s been a quiet morning here in Sofia. The coffee pot is bubbling away on the little electric stove-top, outside there are sparrows cheeping busily, and I’ve got the entire guest-house to myself. The last time I stayed here was in 2007. Back then, the guest-house was busy: there was an alarmingly fierce six-and-a-half foot actor who strode around in his underpants, and who was apparently playing the part of a mafia hoodlum in a TV drama; there was my Russian guitarist friend (and lover of P.G. Wodehouse) Dmitri — who I last spoke to online a few weeks ago, who has more recently taken up the harp, and who played me O’Carolan tunes via Skype all the way from Nizhny Novgrod; and there was a serious German sociologist who spoke excellent Bulgarian, and who was carrying out research on corruption amongst the political classes. It was a heady mix. But now it is low season here in Sofia and the guest house has only recently reopened after a few months closed for business over the winter — so at the moment I’m the only person here. Read more

The sound of the world running its course

A quick post this, as I’m fairly busy tying up loose ends and getting ready to head over to Bulgaria. But I thought that I should just pause to share a  beautiful image tweeted today by Enthusiast, my Bulgarian publisher, with the translation of the final sentence of The Descent of the Lyre.

I love those birds on the power-line.

Произходът на лирата


“Some say it is Saint Ivan of Gela, playing his music to all the angels of heaven; others that it is simply the sound of the world running its course.”

Bulgarian visitors can get hold of a copy of the book from Enthusiast’s website by following the link here.

Mini Book Tour In Bulgaria

Right. I’m dusting off my Teach Yourself Bulgarian book, ready for a trip back to Bulgaria for the first time in seven years, to tie in with the launch of the Bulgarian translation of my novel, [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Descent of the Lyre[/amazon_link]. I’m hugely looking forward to the trip, and am delighted to be doing some events at the Lecti Centre in Varna between the 9th and the 13th of April. Have a look at the link here.

There will be more Bulgarian events forthcoming, so I’ll post to this blog when they are fixed up.


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