Latest News and Blog Posts

The Society of Timid Souls

The Society of Timid Souls, or How to Be Brave, by Polly Morland

An extraordinary and brave book. The stories in themselves are powerful. (My wife kept asking why I was crying, or laughing, or flinching.) The tales of warfare, bomb disposal, firefighting and high-wire walking first make you ask yourself: could I do what they did? Would I

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Tenacity: a breathless underwater tale by JS Law

Tenacity, JS Law

 

It’s always a pleasure to be inducted into a secret world, with an author who clearly knows their stuff, yet leads you in through a character who must learn the ropes as avidly and anxiously as they can.

A murder, a suicide, an investigation on a submarine: a hundred hostile men, and one

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Literature Worker in the City of Portsmouth details

Portsmouth Literature Worker

 

New Writing South is looking for an enthusiastic and capable person to take on the part time (20 hours a month) role of Literature Worker in the City of Portsmouth.

 

The role will include managing the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, a dedicated community of writers that will meet monthly providing opportunity for all kinds of creative

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Portsmouth Literary Worker

It’s a surprise and a delight to announce that Portsmouth City Council have teamed up with New Writing South to create a new post of

Portsmouth Literary Worker

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Dylanology and Plagiarism

The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob by David Kinney

This weaves a wonderful spell. I was taken disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Kinney. Phrase by phrase, character by character, he built up Bobdom around us. Until, in the final section, we didn’t know what to think. Which sends us

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The Darks @TateBritain

I loved Janet Cardiff’s walk The Missing Voice (Case Study B) from Whitechapel Library all those years ago (still available, I believe, and well worth it).

I couldn’t resist an audio guide around Tate Britain, with writer friends Sarah Salway and SJ Butler.

I knew this had been the site of a dark brooding prison, marked on

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Invigorating Engravings

It’s astonishing how flicking through images will spark a new train of thought. If only we could go back and smell the place. A noisy racket there must have been, and a more feverish uncertain aspect to life.

Flowers of Sin: inspiring images gathered on Pinterest.

The Garden Party

Everybody was scandalising each other, flaunting their fascinators

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Slang a la Hotten

 Patron Books for #FlowersofSin

The third of my four Victorian inspirations is the Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant and Vulgar Words (1859) by arch-lexicographer (and pornographer) John Camden Hotten. You cannot imagine how excited I was to bat with his descendant, Jon Hotten, at last summer’s West Meon Literary Festival.

Historical origins

  

We often think slang is new, with its

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If he be Mr Hyde, I shall be Mr Seek

 

Patron Books for #FlowersofSin

Five Victorian books, ground-breaking and scurrilous, inspired my novel.

If Les Fleurs du Mal casts a gruesome erotic hue over the book, this second source accentuates the chiaroscuro. The shadowy brown umbrous hues of Lawless and the Flowers of Sin are cast by The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Just as Jekyll’s laboratory is a mash-up of

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Workshops to fire wordmongers

Two stimulating workshops in the last week, courtesy of poet Maggie Sawkins.

First, in the ongoing series of performance/live literature workshops with Mark C Hewitt, who directed Maggie’s wonderful hard-hitting award-winning show Zones of Avoidance. (The book featuring the full text of Zones of Avoidance is published next month by Cinnamon Press. There will be a book launch on

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