Writing, and some other follies
“A literary triumph.”
“I am blown away by Kidland. It is extraordinary.”
“This unique initiative may challenge your way of thinking.”
“A watershed study, a crucially important book.”
“Accessible, impassioned and persuasive.”
My fiction debut The Wake, a post-apocalyptic novel set 1000 years in the past, won the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize, was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and was longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Folio Prize. A tale of lost gods, fractured lives and haunted fens, set during the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, The Wake is written throughout entirely in its own language – a shadow version of Old English made intelligible for the modern reader.
Reviewing it in The Guardian, novelist Adam Thorpe described The Wake as ‘a literary triumph.’ Philip Pullman has described the book as ‘extraordinary’, Heathcote Williams has called it ‘an astonishing feat of imagination’, and Jay Griffiths says it is ‘an extraordinary, orginal and spellbinding book.’ Also writing in The Guardian, Lucy Mangan said that reading The Wake was ‘to be immersed in the past and in a story in a way that I haven’t really felt since childhood’, and called it ’the most glorious experience I’ve had with a book in years.’
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Published in Orion/Dark Mountain, April 2014
It is a long walk, or it seems like one, especially if you are taking your small children with you. In reality, it is just over a kilometre; a journey which, on the surface, would take ten minutes or so. But we are not on the surface. We are several hundred feet below the slopes of a limestone mountain, and if we weren’t all…
Published in The Clearing, November 2013
I live in a small market town in south Cumbria. The town sits in a low agricultural bowl, surrounded by rivers which rise from the surrounding hills and flow under, through and around the town and out to the sea. Five miles to the north, the Lake District fells begin. Less than two miles to the south is Morecambe Bay. Before I moved here,…
Published by Global Oneness Project, August 2013
When I was a child, I wanted to be a hermit. I can remember in particular a strange background desire I had for some years to live alone in a pine forest. Why a pine forest? I have no real idea. I have never spent much time at all in a real pine forest (as opposed to the serried ranks of plantation pines which…
Designed and built long ago and kept on life support by spanner.