Thursday, 23 October 2014

Three Colours: Books

The first is a collection of critical essays on David Mitchell. It's for a niche market, admittedly, and I'm it. As an author on the perpetual brink of 'emerging', it took a while to get past the fact that here was a writer still in his forties who'd already had a conference dedicated to his books, and now a collection of critical essays. [In his very modest Foreword, he wonders if 'all these bright people (would) feel hoodwinked if they found out that Derrida did (his)head in'.] The essays in question - there are ten - concentrate on Ghostwritten, number9dream, and Cloud Atlas, and I immersed myself fully and geekily in them. In her Introduction, editor Sarah Dillon extols the benefits to be gained by 'engagements between contemporary writers and readers', and looks forward to more in the future - as do I. This collection is good to dip in to, or to read cover to cover. I also found it useful for links to further reading. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves David Mitchell's books.


I've read snatches of The Pleasures of the Text over the years but never had my own copy. It took forever to find this one, but it was worth the wait. I love the language: 'The text you write must prove to me that it desires me', and I love his ideas about language: 'I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me'. And I love the yellow cover. 

I wasn't quite sure how to take a present entitled Being Wrong, so I read bits, interesting bits, but then it somehow got shelved. But I was wrong not to read it cover to cover, because I could have saved myself so much being wrong-related angst between then and now. Schulz draws on psychology, philosophy, science, religion -- whatever it takes -- and synthesises the lot into a readable, fascinating whole which attempts to explain why we are so often wrong, why we deal with it so badly, and why we should embrace our inner wrongness. I can't recommend it enough to anyone who has ever been wrong.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Two Publications

It's been a good week. My contributor's copies of Surge (Brandon/O'Brien) arrived, a collection of stories from the Creative Writing schools of UCD, UCC, NUIG, Queens, and TCD. It's beautifully done -- thank you to all at O'Brien Press -- and so far (I'm working my way through at the moment) the stories are terrific. Publication date is the 13th, and it'll be launched at the Dublin Book Festival, and in Charlie Byrne's, Galway, and in Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre.

And yesterday was the launch of Emerging Perspectives Postgraduate Journal in English Studies, which includes my paper, "No One's from Chicago: Finding a Balance Between Theory and Practice". Thank you to the English Graduate Society, and to David and Michael in particular. This publication is particularly exciting because it represents, both in the abstract and concretely, a bringing together of my writing with my English Lit background - a circle completed, or something.