:: Buzzwords

19/05/15: An Evening with University of Greenwich writer in residence Paul Ewen, and special guests

Greenwich Book Festival
Old Royal Naval College
Friday, 22 May 2015 from 7pm onwards

Paul Ewen (pictured), author of Francis Plug – How To Be A Public Author, recently longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize is very proud to host an evening with three of the UK’s most unconventional writers, all working outside the literary ‘scene’.

Simon Crump is the author of four books, including My Elvis Blackout and Neverland. He is an internationally exhibited artist, and has lectured in fine art and photography.

Stewart Home has authored 15 published novels, one book of short stories, and six books of cultural commentary. He works across various aesthetic mediums, and has completed numerous one-man art shows.

Frank Key is a writer of comic fiction who, according to The Guardian, “can probably lay claim to having written more nonsense than any other man living”.

Tickets can be bought via Eventbrite.

08/05/15: Whatever it is, we’re against it.

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(image via The Guardian)

I woke up to the same Britain as everyone else this morning, one I’d hardly expected. A Conservative majority had overturned predictions of a minority Labour government.

The people of Britain had voted to dismantle their lives.

The government’s arts budget – reduced by 36% since 2010 – is likely be cut by the same again during the next parliament, in order to achieve the £12bn departmental savings the Conservatives promise. The number of arts teachers in English schools has fallen by 11% since 2010. But Conservative cuts will hit us not only as artists, but as parents, as children, as workers, as benefit claimants. They will hit us in our hearts and minds, in our friendships and love affairs, in our family relationships. If we’re sick, or poor or disabled, they will hit us right where it hurts. They will be body blows. These changes will feel personal – as though we made the wrong decisions, as if we weren’t clever, or careful, or strong enough – but they will be political.

What can we do today? Very little, it seems. As we are writers, we can at least let our voices be heard.

All day I’ll be publishing pieces of prose, poetry and opinion, written on this day by UK authors.

3:AM says ‘Whatever it is, we’re against it'; perhaps, especially, this.

Joanna Walsh – Fiction Editor, 3:AM

You can contact me here, or here.


The redoubtable, multi award-winning poet and translator George Szirtes says:

“A bigger loss than anticipated.

You ask yourself where you live. It is a country of raised eyebrows, deep scepticism, and of keeping things as they are in case they get worse. It is a country that believes in the NHS but will risk its future because it is sceptical about threats to demolish it. It is a country with a fragmented working class base with a fragmented sense of identity. It has no great opinion of itself but will not be told by others that it should have a low opinion of itself. Fuck you, it replies. It is several countries not one. Its sleep too is fragmented. In the morning it raises its eyebrows while one part then another breaks off. It needs to be addressed patiently, with deadly honesty, with some appreciation of its intelligence, even with some affection, especially by those who want it to change, to move from acts of individual altruism (of which it has plenty) to one of socially cohesive altruism. It needs stop raising its eyebrows. It needs to see the greater good against the cost. It needs to say, now and then, fuck the cost. The gain is greater.

Go on Labour! Address it!”

27/04/15: The Life and Work of Jonathan Coe

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Tuesday 28th May 2015, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London

A Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing & MCFSN Symposium & Public Event to celebrate the life and work of celebrated, award-wining novelist and biographer, Jonathan Coe, on the occasion of the twenty-first anniversary of the publication of his novel, What a Carve Up! (1994) which remains one of the best modern British satires written in the last 50 years.

17.00 – 17.30 Guest Speaker: David Quantick on Coe & Humour

17.30 – 18.45 Jonathan Coe: reading, talk, and Q & A

Chair: Philip Tew (Brunel University London)

Additional questions from: Vanessa Guignery, Merritt Moseley & David Quantick

£20 (standard fee); £15 (Concessionary fee: retired, unemployed, students, IES and Brunel staff /students/members): includes wine reception

For registration credit cards can be used here.

19/04/15: It Always Rains on Sunday

3:AM sort Cathi Unsworth has penned the intro for the next London Books Classics reissue, Arthur La Bern’s It Always Rains on Sunday. Beloved of Iain Sinclair, its cinematic treatment was the classic Ealing 1947 film by Robert Hamer, starring Googie Withers. Fans of Patrick Hamilton and Alexander Baron will no doubt find much to delight in and decipher.

The Islington-born Fleet Street scribe and crime reporter La Bern penned a number of novels later adapted for the big screen, including Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square (which later became Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy).

To celebrate the release of the book, Cathi and Max Décharné will be discussing Arthur’s life, times and books at the Sohemian Society, upstairs at Fitzrovia’s Wheatsheaf (25 Rathbone Place, W1T) at 7pm on Wednesday, May 20. The book itself is now available from London Books.

: Words without Borders seeks book reviewers

editor K. Thomas Kahn has joined the phenomenal Words without Borders as Reviews Editor, in addition to continuing on in the same role here.

Words without Borders is currently seeking a fresh batch of bright and eager reviewers to review world literature in English translation.

See the call for submissions here for more information, including contact info — and please be sure to help spread the word to other writers, reviewers, translators, authors, and publishers of translated literature!

04/04/15: The Missing Links


The photography of Wim Wenders. * “The Dreadful Mucamas” by Lydia Davis. * Spiderman and fetish art. * An interview with Peter Markus: “Can fiction do that, make a world that is its own, a world that isn’t anchored down by the world in which it is actually written in? Of course it can“. * 3:AM‘s K. Thomas Kahn reviews Nathalie Léger. * Joe Milutis‘s Bright Arrogance column. * Diane Williams: “A splendid plot cannot rescue a project spoiled by deficient language”. * Plastic words. * Lost Book Found by Jem Cohen. * Otto A Totland and Moon Ate the Dark live. * Anna Rose Carter‘s website. * 43 tracks composed by Friedrich Nietzsche. * Max Liu interviews Ben Lerner. * Jonathan Lethem and Ben Arthur in conversation. * An extract from Adam Kotsko‘s Creepiness. * William Bronk? * Donald Barthelme interviewed by George Plimpton (thanks to HP Tinker). * Mods vs rockers. * Squatting in London. * Jean Améry‘s Suicide Notes. * On Lola Ridge. * Brian Dillon reviews Memory Theatre. * Knausgaard dancing in the dark. * Knausgaard interviewed in The Observer. * An excerpt from My Struggle Book Four. * Another excerpt here. * An interview with Jeremy M. Davies. * The French Intifada. * Deborah Levy, Will Self, and others in Berlin video (thanks to Dirk Felleman). * Will Self on the meaning of skyscrapers. * Will Self and John Gray on freedom and determinism. * Nightwalking. * An interview with Jonathan Meades: “I don’t think you can say anything about the world if you just represent it literally – you have to be at an angle to it”. * Totally Mexico!: “At 10 years’ remove the show [Nathan Barley] seems less a comedy and more a documentary about the future”. * Geoff Dyer on Raymond Williams. * Jeremy M. Davies talks to Scott Esposito: “As much as herding cats, Rumrill’s concerns include such heroic undertakings as ‘leaving the house and buying milk without having a breakdown,’ and I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t experienced some of his difficulties with the everyday, if in less fanciful form”. * Maggie Nelson interviewed. * The future of loneliness. * Adam Green interviewed. * Genesis P. Orridge (video interview). * Tom McCarthy: a Kafka for the Google age. * Duncan White on Satin Island: “Every chapter – no, every sentence – invites you to plunge deeper into the book’s dark pool, groping for the submerged pattern. It is as if you are trying to read two books at once. There is the conventional one – paper and ink – but this is only the gateway to the second, which is a vast virtual blueprint of the novel’s hidden architecture, detailing its dizzying connections. Reading a McCarthy novel is like being in a McCarthy novel: everything is part of a fizzing network, the scope of which can never be fully apprehended”. * Tom McCarthy in Flavorwire. * Tom McCarthy and the buffer symbol. * Daniel Pierce reviews Satin Island. * Satin Island – The Movie. * Tom McCarthy (audio interview). * Simon Critchley on suicide. * Burning art. * Auto-destructive music. * The strange case of Rachel Kushner. * Audrey Siourd‘s pictures of women reading books in the Paris metro. * Hysterical literature (see photo). * Creative epiphanies. * Stories from small-time America. * On Ackroyd‘s Hitchcock. * An interview with Steve Reich. * A Jewish take on the roots of punks (video). * How will it end for Don Draper? * Don Draper: chronicle of a death foretold. * Mad Men‘s costume designer interviewed. * Princeton acquires Jacques Derrida‘s personal library. * Picasso’s postcards. * An extract from Altman. * Francis Bacon‘s vision of the Crucifixion. * Antoine Volodine: the post-exotic novel wants to destroy reality. * An interview with Renata Adler. * Parklife revisited. * Houellebecq in the flesh. * Beckett in love. * McKenzie Wark and Kathy Acker.

28/03/15: Film Without Film



Post-Nearly Press are publishing two volumes of in-depth interviews with Chris Petit and Iain Sinclair, both conducted by Neil Jackson. Only a limited number of copies will be produced. “When they’re gone that’s it,” says Neil, “it’s a theme that crops up in the conversations.”

19/03/15: Tom McCarthy: ‘Think Tank’


26 Mar 2015 at 7pm
Studio, ICA, The Mall, London SW1

Coinciding with the publication of his new novel Satin Island, award-winning author Tom McCarthy is hosting a ‘Think Tank’. Here, director of the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Dr. Clémentine Deliss, feted media consultant Alfie Spencer and leading critic and novelist Mark Blacklock will discuss the triangle, which is central to McCarthy’s novel, linking anthropology, capitalism and literature within contemporary culture.

For more details, see the ICA’s website. [Pic by Andrew Gallix.]

14/03/15: The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys


The Sohemian Society presents…
Jeremy Reed
at The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, North Soho, W1
Wednesday March 18th, 7.30pm

The Dilly is the first comprehensive examination of male prostitution at London’s Piccadilly Circus from the nineteenth century to the present day. On the fringes of Soho, Piccadilly has long been London’s principal location for the illicit sale of sex, and Jeremy Reed explores the history of rent boys from Oscar Wilde’s notorious attraction to the place to the painter Francis Bacon’s predilection for rough trade. The book includes tales of Soho’s clandestine gay clubs from the days when homosexuality was illegal, the punters inexorably drawn to the area, the development of the secret slang known as Polari or Palare, as well as the Dilly’s influence on pop stars from the Rolling Stones to Morrissey. The author examines the careers of a number of former male prostitutes who worked the infamous ‘Meat Rack’ and investigates what drew them to risk their lives. His study includes a chapter recording his friendship with Francis Bacon and concludes with an account of the demise of the Dilly trade, when male escorts booked online supplanted the boys hanging out on the neon-lit railings.

This is an exhilarating re-creation of the occupation of London’s tourist centre by lawless Dilly boys and a pioneering piece of countercultural history brought vividly to life through the author’s personal engagement – he himself worked as a rent boy in the early 1970s – as well as his strong sense of place, colourful imagery and poetic flair.

17/02/15: Satin Island


Tom McCarthy will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road on 10 March, 7-8pm.

[Pic: Tom McCarthy in 2007 by Andrew Gallix.]