Last night I had the good fortune to meet Billy Collins after he had performed at Edge Hill’s Poets Laureate event with Carol Ann Duffy.As my students know, American Literature is a bit of a blind spot with me, but I have been a fan of Collins since first hearing him read on Garrison Keillor’s… Continue reading Billy Collins
Posts Tagged: literature
You would think I might get these all right. No, I got 6 / 7. I even got the question on To Kill a Bleeding Mockingbird right. What I got wrong is the question on The Charge of the Light Brigade, where I was invited to declare why Tennyson had used certain verbs. All the… Continue reading Volleying and thundering
This novel was sent to me by Penguin, so that I could add a review to their Blog a Holiday Read site, where, apparently, it will appear sometime. You, discerning reader, can read about it now though. Many things are coming to an end at the faux-bohemian College Sunrise: not just the education of a… Continue reading Muriel Spark, The Finishing School
Sean O’Brien is one of my favourite poets. His work has always shown its rootedness in tradition, even when questioning that tradition – see Cousin Coat, for instance. Here, in an excellent article, he makes a case for the restoration of the canon in education, before something very precious is lost. He’s right.
…is probably a good title for an article I shall write about my experience addressing the old boys of Malay College on the subject of their old teacher John Anthony Burgess Wilson. I hadn’t anticipated the scale of the event, though I had a suspicion when we arrived early and saw the banners.Here’s one: Sharon… Continue reading Mr Wilson’s Old Boys
Will Self is never a cosy read, and The Book of Dave is no exception. Its central conceit is that, in a Britain where the waters rose calamitously centuries ago, the primitive people who inhabit what’s left of England have founded a religion based on the sacred texts of Dave, a depressed cab driver. The… Continue reading The Book of Dave
To the Royal Exchange on Friday, for the award of the first Edge Hill Short Story prize organised by my friend and colleague Ailsa Cox, and presented by AL Kennedy. It was a very pleasant evening – wine was consumed, canapés eaten, shoulders rubbed with the famous. The prize was awarded to Mothers and Sons… Continue reading Edge Hill Prize
Just got round to reading this novel. You may recall that, over at Patternings, Ann Darnton’s experience of the novel was considerably spoiled by a reference to Beatles and Rolling Stones covers of Chuck Berry, at a time when they hadn’t released them. Now here’s a funny thing- I was bracing myself for that bit,… Continue reading On Chesil Beach
Over at Patternings, Ann Darnton points out how her reading of Chesil Beach was spoilt by Ian McEwan’s failure to get a contemporary detail right – he has his protagonist playing Beatles and Rolling Stones covers of Chuck Berry before they were recorded. On one level it’s a minor detail, but on another, as Ann… Continue reading Oh for an editor
Recent analyses of what writers earn confirm pretty much what we all knew anyway, which is that, unless you are JK, or Salman, don’t give up the day job. That is, unless you can live on four grand a year.In that financial climate, the claims of the mail-order writing schools look a bit dubious. But… Continue reading Writing for profit?