Category Archives: Events

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’m doing a session at the Hay Festival this weekend. I’m on at 9am on Sunday – a bracing slot that will surely sort the sheep from the goats – something my RE teacher used to say every single lesson whilst handing out another fun Bible quiz. I was never sure which creature we were supposed to aspire to, neither seemed in possession of towering intellects, but then again neither did my RE teacher.

Anyway to compensate for the early hour, there is Jonathan Coe – who will be funny, thoughtful and lucid – and a free advance copy of his forthcoming novel Expo 58.

In the goat corner (I think I’ve worked it out now) will be me – less funny, thoughtful and lucid – and a free advance copy of my forthcoming novel Mr Lynch’s Holiday.

Is it just me that finds something slightly desperate sounding about the programme notes?

‘read them before the reviewers do!’

It’s the exclamation mark. It never inspires confidence.

Short Stories Aloud

I’m looking forward to attending the next Short Stories Aloud in Oxford on April 30th. One of my short stories will be read by an actor, which I think will be an enjoyably odd sensation. For me anyway. Hopefully not too odd for the audience.

It’s made me think that it would be nice to always have an actor around to voice my thoughts and deliver my lines in conversations, somehow ennobling and elevating my inanities. Ideally it would be Werner Herzog, in his occasional capacity as actor. I’d feel less pathetic requesting that my tea be made ‘weak and milky’ if Werner was asking for me. He’d take no lip.

More excitingly the other writer at the event is Ron Rash. It’s shameful but true to admit that it has taken this event and Sarah, the organiser’s, efforts to introduce me to his work. I am now a tedious convert, having read both Burning Bright and Nothing Gold Can Stay in the last week. The stories are wonderful – vivid, understated, melancholy and occasionally very funny. I think we’ll both be doing a Q and A after the stories where I will try not to plague with him too many of my own questions.

If you’re in the area, come along and hear for yourself.