29 December 2022

Best Reads of 2022, an outtake

I was asked to contribute to the webzine Northern Soul's "Best Reads of 2022", and happily offered some suggestions. You can read the full feature here, including some of my favourite poetry books this year as well as David Gaffney's third novel, Out Of The Dark. I'd also written about another author that I've been quite obsessed with, although those words didn't make the final cut, so I'm sharing them here...

Annie Ernaux, Exteriors (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

It’s not every Nobel Prize in Literature announcement that sparks me to leap up from my lunch and punch the air, but hearing Annie Ernaux’s name did just that. Rediscovering her experimental hybrid creative nonfiction this year, after being introduced to memoir La place (A Man’s Place) studying French at the University of Manchester, I had been busy trying not to over-drip-feed myself the English version, Exteriors, I’d bought of Journal du dehors, so small but intense each passage, recounting almost infraordinary encounters stretching over a number of years. I had also just picked up her latest tome (hardly, at a mere 27 pages) Le jeune homme in a wonderful Parisian bookshop; this telling of Ernaux’s affair with a much younger man will be available in translation with indie press Fitzcarraldo (who produce a lovely package) in 2023 – her explorations of difficult situations, approaching the most personal of experiences almost completely disconnected, are toe-curlingly good. 

13 December 2022

'Pearl-like phrases' and 'clear precision'

My debut prose pamphlet Marine Drive has been given a rather good review by Desmond Bullen for Northern Soul, in which he says: “These pieces catch the light in ripples … A kind of musical exactitude, like a shell whispering against your ear.” Read the full piece, 'Pearl-like Phrases', here.

Andrea Mason (Waste Extractions, Broken Sleep Books), who gave Marine Drive a great blurb – “prose redolent of the clear precision of Lydia Davis, the material evocations of Sheila Heti, the visceral spikes of Ann Berg” – featured one of the stories in Mercurius. You can read 'Let's Go Round Again' here.

Thanks to both of them for their kind words.