Steinbeck the magical realist

Of the quartet of American male modernist writers born on the threshold of the twentieth century – F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896), William Faulkner (1897), Ernest Hemingway (1899) and John Steinbeck (1902) – three would be awarded Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for literature (Fitzgerald would not). But despite his popularity with readers, critics have often considered … Read more

The Art of Not Giving In (Part Two)

The Second Coming of the North Surrey Gigantopithecus PREVIOUSLY, in The Art of Not Giving InI described how I went from abandoning my novel, The North Surrey Gigantopithecus in 2017 to being around to witness its publication by Unsung Stories in 2021 to some acclaim. I had seen the story as a voice exercise and … Read more

‘The fire is still alive’

On the back cover of Louise Gluck’s Poems 1962–2020 is a poem entitled “Nostos”, which ends with this couplet: “We look at the world once, in childhood. / The rest is memory.” Taken from Meadowlands (1996), it exemplifies a quality found throughout Glück’s fifty-eight-year oeuvre: hard-won wisdom in spare, penetrating language. This heavy book, published … Read more

Movement and Creativity – The Literary Consultancy

Creativity is an expression of the incredible marvel of being human. To move is to express this, and if you move every day you will deepen your relationship with creativity without even noticing it. Our relationship to creativity needs tender and steady attention to nurture it. Movement is sometimes included as a nice-to-have, optional wellbeing … Read more

A waltz through Vienna

Outside Austria, Heimito von Doderer is something of a cult author. His reputation rests mainly on two massive novels, Die Strudlhofstiege (1951; The Strudlhof Steps) and its even longer successor, Die Dämonen (1956; The Demons, 1961). The latter is already available in an English translation by Richard and Clara Winston, but Vincent Kling is the … Read more

Business ends

There is no cause for alarm – or so we like to kid ourselves – but don’t be surprised to find that books have become more expensive before the year is out. This is one clear warning from this month’s London Book Fair – that barmy bazaar of shop talk and deals that pops up … Read more

Being Heard, Being Seen, Being Read – How To Promote Your Non-Fiction Book

Writing non-fiction books can be hard work, translating historical events into the present day, recounting challenging real-life experiences, or critiquing artists and their work to say something new are all demanding projects — what can be harder still is promoting your book. You have committed yourself to your subject, dedicated yourself to hours of research, … Read more

European projects

In his review of books about the European Union, (April 1), Hugo Drochon devotes considerable space to the city of Mechelen (Malines), but without mentioning its principal significance in modern European history: as the place where the Jews of Belgium were summoned to assemble by the Nazi authorities, prior to their deportation to Auschwitz. Similarly, … Read more