Tag Archives: arvon

arvon. and on…

5 Jan

a terrible pun, i know. blame lack of sleep.

was i up late last night being a total rock god? no, of course not. i was putting the finishing touches to my application for the 2011 jerwood / arvon mentoring scheme. i’d invite you to apply too but, unless you have the time to read the rules, write a 1,000 word statement and biography and hand-deliver your application to the free word centre in farringdon by 5pm tomorrow…you’re too late. sorry about that. for what it’s worth, i left everything to the last minute, and only just posted mine off in time. i probably missed something important out. like my contact details.

it’s a great oparvon foundation course toolsportunity – three fiction writers, three playwrights and three poets chosen from applicants will receive guidance and support over the next year from established writers, plus the prize includes two separate weeks at arvon foundation courses, where work-in-progress can be developed.

the reason i’m mentioning the scheme here is that, when writing my application statement, i found myself thinking fondly of the week i spent on an arvon foundation course last summer. there are four different locations around the country where courses take place, and mine was at john osbourne’s old home, the hurst.

i’ll keep it brief and say: it was one of the best experiences i’ve had as a writer. tutorials in the morning, free time to write in the afternoon, and group fun in the evening. beautiful surroundings. great tutors. loads of fun. you even cook for each other – which is more fun than it sounds.

most courses are attended by about fifteen writers, and i’m pleased to say that for five days i was surrounded by about as nice a group as you could wish to meet. a really diverse bunch of friendly and talented characters, including melanie, vinnie and jane, whose wonderful words you should, of course, sample.

most importantly, the course gave me the space – both mentally and physically – to actually write. having the free time to concentrate on what you love doing, whilst knowing that you are supposed to be doing that and nothing else, felt…unusual. and awesome. i wrote a lot of words. a few of them were actually alright.

arvon haven’t announced their 2011 courses yet, but will soon. sign up and they’ll let you know once they’re open for bookings.

get to the point? fine:

if you’re a writer, and you’re reading this, and you acknowledge that your writing can and should improve, and you haven’t done an arvon course…then do one. you won’t regret it.

(disclaimer: you might regret it. but i doubt you will. and if you do, don’t come crying to me. arvon don’t pay me for this, you know. i just like them and think they’re great. oh, just BOOK A COURSE, will you?).

oh, and if you’re interested, i submitted a story called ‘i think the sun is shining’ with my application. i’ll put it on this site sometime soon, but in the meantime i’d be eternally grateful if you’d do me the honour of reading it here.

 

facts. pop. fiction.

30 Dec

hello

so. this is my blog. you’ll find some of my writing here, funnily enough.

i’ve recently started working on my third novel – the tracks… – and will aim to post excerpts as i go, as well as showcase my short stories and other things with words in. in addition, i’m likely to bang on about music, film and literature in a despicably subjective – yet undeniably correct – manner. i’ll also use aural and visual aids; all the kids are doing so these days. so, if you don’t like me, my writing or my opinions, then reading my blog may well be a hellish experience for you. honestly, i’m all over this site. you’ll hate it.

but, if you do like such things, then you’re in luck, my friend. read on. and why not subscribe? go on. scroll to the bottom of this page and permit me to fill your head with noise and visuals and words you never imagined could be strung together quite so…er, awesomely.

thanks for visiting. don’t be a stranger.

pop fiction

pop fiction: stories inspired by songsin 2010, i:

left my job, after serving ten years. i’d get less for murder, etc.

travelled to south america and new york, then got myself happily stranded in madrid thanks to that ash cloud thing.

set up a new (nu) business with some fine friends. it’s going very well, thanks for asking.

scripted a viral video, which we then made to promote our new business. it’s so far had 615 hits on youtube. i know, truly viral.

started my third novel, the tracks…

spent a very rewarding week on an arvon foundation course, without any mobile or internet connection. bliss.

spent more money than i should have on a ridiculous amount of gigs. because music makes me ears buzz and my heart smile.

but, of all the things i achieved this year, i’m most proud of my involvement in an anthology called pop fiction: stories inspired by songs. i spent months on the bastard, and have been pimping it relentlessly…so, naturally, this blog feels like the perfect place to drone on about it once again.

you can read my introduction to the anthology here. for free. because i love you.

and here’s the official blurb:

an ex-disney employee haunted by his hero’s song…a sharp-talking cowboy who can’t quite outrun his destiny…a man closer to captain kirk than could possibly be healthy…

this is pop fiction: stories inspired by songs – the literary equivalent of the greatest mix tape ever recorded. influenced by everyone from the clash to the fall, via david bowie and, er, olivia newton-john, pop fiction’s stories mix styles as eclectic as the songs which have inspired them, and showcase nine talented new voices as they celebrate one art form’s impact on another.

aside from my fine self, pop fiction features two gems apiece from: karen snape-williams, tom singleton, marc nash, jacky cowper, lee williams, lev parikian, carole pitt and aís.

what else can i tell you about pop fiction? well, it seemed a simple commitment to begin with:  i – along  with eight other writers who post their work on the fantastic youwriteon.com – agreed to put together a collection of short stories inspired by songs. but, as i wrote my contributions – ‘disney’s dream debased’, inflenced by the song by the fall, and ‘the only conclusion’, based on david bowie’s ‘”heroes‘” – i realised i wanted to be as involved as possible in the project. as a music obsessive (self-diagnosed), i found the concept exciting; this was exactly the type of collection i would choose to read. and, as an unpublished author, i saw the potential benefits of being a part of pop fiction. here, at last, was a painless opportunity to get my writing out there, alongside another eight talented writers.

fiction and music; my dream combo.

little by little, pop fiction became a bit of an obsession. everyone pulled their weight when putting the collection together, but i volunteered to join the dots and help make publication a reality because i wanted to: i believed in the idea, in the quality of the writing, in the value of  – for once – making something happen, rather than thinking about making something happen. true d.i.y. by literary punks. so i tracked down the godlike pennie smith and gained her permission to bastardise her seminal london calling photo for our (if i say so myself) superb cover. i wrote the collection’s introduction. i collated, and then edited, every story. again. and again. as the music that inspired each piece rang in my ears. and i loved every minute.

and, now, pop fiction: stories inspired by songs is available – here, here and here. all initial proceeds go to blue lamp foundation.

even more info here.

i’d love you to buy a copy. in fact, i’m unlikely to shut up until you do so. go on; it’s honestly very good. plus i know where you live.

now, i suppose, the hard work begins. it’s difficult to know how many copies we’ve sold so far, but i’d hazard a guess we’ve not cracked a million yet. in the new year, i’ll approach a few bookshops and cry shamelessly onto their counters until they agree to stock a copy or five. i’ll even pitch it to some music stores…if there are any left. plus we’re going to throw a pop fiction launch party at some point over the next few weeks. watch this space. and, yes, you’re invited. did you really think i’d leave you out, after all your support?

pop fiction is the literary equivalent of the greatest mix tape ever recorded, and – as you’ll remember from your youth – you used to compile your mix tapes in order to pass them onto others: friends, crushes, fellow music lovers. so, if you’ve read pop fiction, plan to read it, or simply like the sound of the book…please spread the gospel.

oh, and in case any of you are wondering why all nine of us decided to write about bowie’s ‘”heroes”‘, here’s the only explanation you could possibly need:

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