On Wednesday 16 June, the Royal Society of Literature presented their annual Mrs Dalloway Day, on line. The day concluded with a discussion on the short stories of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, with particular reference to their personal relationship or as it was described, their critical friendship. I am sure there are many readers … Continue reading TWO WOMEN WRITERS OF SHORT STORIES
After last week’s flight into literary fancy, it’s back to basics with those ‘how-to-do-it’ books on my shelf. Ignoring John Mullan’s how novels work book, I still think James N Frey’s book How to Write a Damned Good Novel is, well, damned good. It was published in 1987 so I’ll just check if you can … Continue reading BACK TO REALITY
We’re back in 1962 in an English lesson about Jane Austen. To be precise, we’ve been reading Mansfield Park, preparing for what then were called ‘O’ level exams. We’ve been given two questions to choose from for prep but the teacher has asked if anyone has a third suggestion. I put up my hand and … Continue reading Women Writers writing about Women for Women.
I'm going to cheat this week as I must polish two submissions for the Bridport Prize: one for the short story prize and the second for the novel. I've been searching for inspiration for my arresting first line for the novel. I remembered that Ian McEwen's On Chesil Beach started with three aspects of the … Continue reading BOOKS I MUST HAVE ON MY SHELF
The non-fiction book how novels work evolved from a series of weekly articles 'Elements of Fiction', written by John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London and published in the Saturday Guardian. I had not come across such articles in a newspaper before and they ensured I bought the Guardian faithfully each week until … Continue reading The One Book to Have
I have no idea how a tattered book, with a picture on the front of a girl sitting cross-legged in a garden, called Your Diary, came into my possession. I still have this book and will never part with it. My sustained interest in this book is not that I keep a diary – I … Continue reading Reading to Write
One of my all-time favourite novels is Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. (more about that book later). The story concludes with the words ‘…she wrote, Coming home. But, after a moment she thought that this was not entirely accurate and crossing out the words Coming home wrote simply Returning.’ Perhaps many of us, slowly … Continue reading RETURNING – Talking Animals