- Interviews -

Serious Listening...

Alan Warner & Brian Hamill in conversation

AW: I read an interview with an academic and novelist recently, where she was asked what was the last book to make her cry, and she replied that tears were not relevant to literary judgement. If you extrapolate that, you get this dry, hard concept that what literature makes us FEEL is irrelevant ... click here to read more

"Gimme Shelter"

Wendy Erskine on voice & narrative

WE: Somebody asked me not so long ago if I edited my stories. They weren’t trying to be rude. I know what they meant. They seem straightforward. I wanted to appropriate Dolly Parton and say, baby, it takes a lot of money and effort to look this cheap! But I didn’t. I just said something bland and polite ... click here to read more

Negofeminism & Art
Chika Unigwe interviewed by Rachael Fulton

CU: It was especially important to me to do research because I had my preconceived notions of what a prostitute was like. And I also had watched some reportages on human trafficking. If I had written the novel without doing the field work, I would have ended up writing a type rather than individual women ... click here to read more


Talking city literature with John King

JK: As this is fiction there is room for some flamboyance, a celebration of speech, and it is important to keep that voice going when it comes to a person’s inner thoughts and the prose generally. Other characters I have to approach differently, as I won’t be so familiar with their language, and know I can never get it right... click here to read more

A Romance of the Dour:
An interview with the novelist Todd McEwen

McE: What I am very strongly against is the workshop, the primary method by which which your money is stolen and your time wasted as a student in a creative writing program. See the remarks of August Kleinzahler passim on ‘professionalized’ creative writing programs—he said ‘It’s a terrible thing to lie to young people ...’ click here to read more

Interview with Bernard MacLaverty:

Language, Rhythm, Music

BM: It’s only a couple of hundred years since my family thought in Irish. I have retained my accent. There is no reason why the Irish shouldn’t retain grammar and constructions that make English sound individual and new minted. I think a similar thing has happened to Jewish writers ... click here to read more

Ducks, Towns, and Prizes:

TCB Interview with Sam Jordison

SJ: One way of putting it might be that we wanted a publishing house that put the book first and asked all the other questions about how you market it later. We wanted to be led by the love of the writing, rather than notions of how well it might sell. Or perhaps a better way of putting it might be that we hoped that if we loved a book ... click here to read more

and the Short Story Form

JG: I’m interested in difficulty. If you have a friend that you go round and see once a month, and their life is always cakes and roses, their beautiful new child, and all the rest of it, eventually you get fed up [laughs], right fed up with them. What makes a good story is something to chew on ... click here to read more


TCB interview with David Keenan

DK: I would go so far as to say that if you ever feel you’re ‘describing’ something then you have clearly failed to manifest that something completely, and the reader is now listening to your description of something as opposed to coming into direct contact with the thing itself ... click here to read more

'How Late It Was, How Late'

with James Kelman

JK: I was already involved in my own work in my own way. The crucial thing for me was recognising kindred artists involved in identical, and related, issues, struggling with language as an effect of linguistic and cultural imperialism ... click here to read more

Clare, Kelman, and Working-Class Art
with Professor Simon Kövesi

SK: Class is awkward for us all. I know a working-class writer who is doing publicly well but lives precariously still, who repeatedly has materially middle-class senior academics asking him to validate their working-class credentials ... click here to read more

Alan Warner:

'The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven'

AW: Then obviously you are going to have characters that you don’t agree with at all - bastards or insensitive psychos, but you still have to express their position. They will say stuff that you don’t agree with but that you might feel enlarges their character on the page ... click here to read more

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