As the child of bookshop owners, Simon Rae grew up knowing that running a bookshop might be his destiny. But the revelation that he would rather write books than sell them took him along a different path…
Having lived in Italy for twenty years, Tobias Jones has come to realise that his literary style has been affected in more ways than he might have anticipated by his habitual use of Italian. Here he describes how this ‘linguistic exile’ has shaped his writing.
I also aspire to read a play a day, which is unrealistic if you are a commissioned writer with a Netflix subscription, and a poem a day, which is more achievable.
Style and form are all find and dandy, I'm sure they do wonders for my poor old brain, but sometimes I hanker after a good story. Luckily there are plenty of them about, and some happen to be beautifully written too.
The novel I believed did not want to be written suddenly wrote itself right to the end in a matter of weeks all because of a few lines I chanced to read one afternoon in a remote house in Wales.
Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me.
He is going to become a writer, or in Joyce's lofty phrase "a priest of the eternal imagination". Those words stood out on the page as if they had been written in fire. I remember exactly where I was when I read them.
Enchanted by the seductive music of this poem, its strangeness but also its powerful sense of reality; I didn't know exactly what it meant in the sense of its paraphrasable content, but its potency was unignorable. Imagine if one could write like this!