One of the things we teach on the undergraduate Creative Writing module at Cardiff University is that, to be a writer, you should read far and wide. You should soak up the words of others, digest them, and begin again.
Something that doesn’t always come up in the conversation, however, is the fact that the words don’t have to be printed, and that there are other ways for writing to reach us.
Continue reading “What’s Inside: the songs of Waitress the Musical”
I didn’t have any expectations when I opened The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping, by Samantha Harvey. I had not previously read any of her novels. I simply heard Harvey talking about the book on a podcast (available here if you’re interested) and decided that I would give it a go. The book, described by the London Review as a ‘philosophical memoir’, revolves around the author’s struggle with insomnia, which began suddenly and lasted over a year. It is about many other things – a ‘startingly insightful exploration of memory, writing and influence, death and grief, and the will to survive’, according to the book jacket – but insomnia is the central motif.
Continue reading “Book Review: The Shapeless Unease”
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in film adaptations of books. I will walk into a cinema (or, more recently, open a streaming platform) full of expectation, convinced – although the evidence suggests otherwise – that the film will somehow reflect exactly my own understanding of the book. Maybe it will even transcend it.
I have, on occasion, been proven right (Joe Wright’s adaptation of Atonement is an all-time favourite, and don’t get me started on the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) but more often than not, I am disappointed. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the theatre for the first Harry Potter film, having made the mistake of re-reading the book a short time before; I was in a perfect position to notice every difference, every detail that had been changed, every funny line of dialogue the writers had decided, for some incomprehensible reason, not to include. Why? I wondered disconsolately as we left the cinema. Why would they do this?
Continue reading “From Book to Film: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”
When I was ten or eleven years old, if we were going on holiday, I would pack a book for each day we were planning to spend away from the house. We were going away for ten days? I packed ten books. I spent hours absorbed in fictional stories, and it was hard work getting me to take a break. I wanted to stay with the book, to finish it in one sitting if I could.
Nowadays, although I’m still a fast reader, I don’t have this kind of time to devote to reading (adulthood, eh?). I read less, and my reading patterns have become erratic; I spend a day or two with a book, stop halfway, come back to it a week later. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, as was the case recently with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Continue reading “Why I shouldn’t read (for hours) before bed”
As a writer, there are a few questions I often get asked. I thought that, compiled, they would make a good introduction.
Continue reading “FAQ”