Does Writing Have to be Political to Matter?

 As you may recall, I recently had my flash fiction piece 'Snow' nominated in the 3 Quarks Daily Art & Literature prize 2011 and that I ranked as high as a semi-finalist before not making it through to the final six. The finalists who did get through (found here) became these eventual winners:
  1. Top Quark: Namit Arora, Joothan: A Dalit's Life
  2. Strange Quark: Edan Lepucki, Reading and Race: On Slavery in Fiction
  3. Charm Quark: Elliot Colla, The Poetry of Revolt 


Book Quote Friday: Releasing your Inner Bitch

     This passage from 'The Pursuit of Love' actually made me snort in bed the other night:

     ‘For dinner, Linda wore a white chintz dress with an enormous skirt, and a black lace scarf. She looked entirely ravishing, and it was obvious that Sir Leicester was much taken with her appearance – Lady Kroesig and Miss Marjorie, in bits of georgette and lace, seemed not to notice it. Marjorie was an intensely dreary girl, a few years older than Tony, who had failed so far to marry, and seemed to have no biological reason for existing.’


Find The Ideas You Want To Work With

     Something I’ve not heard bandied about much on writing blogs and the like is the idea of reading philosophy to find the ideas that you want to work with in your fiction. I think it’s perhaps quite a good one as without ideas, stories can’t exist. And who have the best, biggest, most out-there and profound ideas? Philosophers, of course.


Some Things Don’t Get Lost in Translation

     At least, I don't think so. Another thought: never underestimate people, even famous ones. For instance, what do you really think of Carla Bruni? Press play below.


Floating Over Tokyo

     Now, I had planned and written this post about a Japanese photo blogger prior to the events of last Friday, but I think, publishing it as I am today, that it's only appropriate that I place it within its current context. 

     Like everyone, I am truly humbled and horrified by the earthquake, subsequent tsunami, nuclear reactor uncertainty and the height of the likely death toll.  Combining that with the resultant economic worries and the psychological and emotional impact of losing one's loved-ones, posessions and homes, it's clear that those in Japan will need to stay in our thoughts and our prayers for some time to come.


Book Quote Friday: Perfecting the Voice

Any Human Heart     Now, I've not quite finished this book yet, but already it's clear to me that 'Any Human Heart' by William Boyd is a masterpiece of characterisation and voice. Written in the form of a diary, with the odd explanatory insert, it spans the life of the protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, from his Uruguayan beginnings in 1912 to his death in the early 1990s. We travel with him from Oxford to Paris,  Nigeria to New York, the Bahamas to Switzerland, and from London to the French countryside (I'm being deliberately vague so I don't inadvertantly include too many spoilers).

      The test, I think, of an fictitious diary or memoir is whether we find it increasingly and incredibly hard to believe that the protagonist is not really in existence. 


Vote for Me: The 3 Quarks Daily 2011 Arts & Literature Prize

     I have some news. My flash fiction piece 'Snow' has been nominated for the 3 Quarks Daily 2011 Arts & Literature prize (eek!) but I need your votes to go through to the final judging round. 

     Time is of the essence as voting closes at 11:59pm (NYC time) on March 8th, which is Tuesday!

    I'd be incredibly grateful if you'd vote for 'Tolstoy is my Cat' here (it's alphabetical so it's fifth from bottom): 

     Thank you so, so much x


Flash (Fiction?)

     Sometimes, simplicity is key.

The Great GatsbyAlso, anybody not heard about the Great Gatsby Game? It's possibly the best thing that ever happened. F. Scott Fitzgerald would be so proud.
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