The Descent of the Lyre - Events

A Blog Post about Hospitality, Books and Big Sticks

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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 …

Back in Sofia, Seven Years On

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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 …

Произходът на лирата

The sound of the world running its course

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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. …

The Bulgarians and Me

The Bulgarians and Me: a New Year’s Tale of Disappointment

Will Stories 5 Comments

Well, what a disappointing day the first of January 2014 was. After spending all December reading the tabloid press (and the Telegraph as well), I’d whipped myself up into a state of some excitable frenzy at the thought of 50,000 Bulgarians trooping past my door from the first of January. So in the spirit of Anglo-Bulgarian friendship, back in December …

A Note on Bread and Books

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Over the last few days, I’ve been up to my ears in edits of my I Ching book project, this curious novel-of-sorts that has been preoccupying me for seven or eight years now. I’m hoping to get the final manuscript sent off by Christmas, so the next few days will be busy. In between long stints editing, I’ve also been baking …

Bangor Pier (Nick Macneill)

Accidental Sinology

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I’m down in Bangor for a brief spell, where I’ve been talking to creative writing and translation students about how a few years back I found myself stumbling into matters Sinological, and the general mayhem that has ensued since then. I wasn’t sure that I was going to get here at all this morning, as there was train chaos across …

Historical Novel Society: Review of the Descent of the Lyre

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I was delighted to see that [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Descent of the Lyre[/amazon_link] has just received an excellent review from the Historical Novel Society. Here’s a brief extract: Do not mistake this for a mere retelling. This is masterful storytelling, such that one cannot help but sense the ancient thrum, the pulse quickening, and deep down the feeling …

The Dark Arts

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This morning I have been preoccupied with two things: firstly, baking bread (having made myself a frisky little sourdough starter); and secondly working on the final edits of my Yijing (易經) book. This has involved shuttling between the kitchen and my desk, as I attend to the both creations. Anyway, as I was looking after the loaf in the kitchen, …