Friday, November 09, 2007

Against fireworks

I'm listening to loud music all night to drown the sound of fireworks, for a tiny dog who runs around in a panic and tries to tunnel through walls when she hears the explosions. I have adopted my mother's Yorkshire terrier, all the way from Dublin. Mam has gone into a place where the doors are all locked, though not for any crime, unless you call trying to do your best all your life a crime. My mother and her little dog are both looking for the same thing, an open door, and when they find it they both have the same idea - to try and find their way home.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pulp fiction

"I was setting up for the steam circus in Gunnersbury Park last Sunday. It was a gorgeous spring day, blossom everywhere. The ground was dry enough and the weather was just perfect for smashing pianos..." (Continue [Gorn!])

I'm very pleased that this short story has gone to a good home in

Monday, October 01, 2007

Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize

The Shakti Bhatt Foundation announces the inaugural 2008 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize (caferati)

"September 27 would have been the writer and editor Shakti Bhatt's 27th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, her friends will read from her work and remember her with poetry, short fiction, and music...The Shakti Bhatt Foundation will announce the inaugural 2008 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize."

The award is for books published in India. Shakti was one of the contributors to "New Short Stories 1". (Tributes)

Friday, September 28, 2007

That was a cold night

That large cover is supposed to protect the whole sofa, but this fellow decided he had a better use for it last night. Came down this morning to find he'd got under it. Our boiler is broken, awaiting repair, so the house was very cold.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Young pigeon

When I saw a bird like this in the grass at my primary school, I wondered if I'd discovered a new species. That was easily possible, then. In my mind I was always attributing marvellous discoveries to myself. I think I was really insane, if a child can be insane. A friend's kid, not so long ago, told me his teacher was an alien. Maybe insanity is the normal condition of childhood.

Friday, June 22, 2007

At the London Literature Festival fringe

Last Night's Dream Corrected

In the Storytelling Tent, Brent Respect 2007, Roundwood Park, NW10. Sunday, July 8th, after 5 p.m.

I will be there along with others including Vanessa Gebbie, Bilal Ghafoor, Richard Wright and Jonathan Attrill. Willesden Green Writers are also putting on their travelling show.

London's book festival acquires a fringe

"First ever" London literature festival announced

London Literature Festival 2007

London Lit Plus

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Online reading

This snapshot of my Google Reader trends flatters the Telegraph. Those articles are not all read, they're just marked as read, except for Boris Johnson's. I only subscribe for his column and the rest come along with it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

King of the birds

I see wrens from time to time and the other day I saw four (this is one of them) at the same time in a dead tree by the window of my writing shed. The king of the birds, according to folklore. They are noisy beggars, for something that could be mistaken for a queen bee as they dart rapidly by too fast to see clearly. They fly low and I've seen them going under a shed and under a building, which must be how they earned their latin name troglodytes troglodytes. Their "song" sounds a bit like some sort of drill.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tune the cat's whiskers to 40 mb

If anybody has broadband and wants to hear the whole event:

Recording of complete event (with Daljit's readings edited down to two out of six, alas) (40 mb mp3, could take a while to download - only practical on broadband). Apart from the poems listed here, Daljit also read "The Speaking of Bagwinder Singh Sagoo", "To the Wealth of India" and "Parade's End".

The complete program:
  • Welcome and intros (yours duly)
  • Jeff Achampong reading from a novel-in-progress, working title "Haemoglobin S".
  • Lynsey Rose reads two poems and an excerpt from newly completed novel.
  • Claudette Gordon reads four new poems.
  • Elle Ludkin reads love poems and a journal about a loved one's battle with cancer.
  • Stephen Moran reads five poems: "To the People of New Earth", "Willesden Sunset, January", "Lines Between Day and Night", "The Dolls' Hospital" and "Inisheer".
  • Dale Arndell reads a short story.
  • (At last!) Daljit Nagra, reading from "Look We Have Coming to Dover!"

Five poems

This is me reading at the Willesden Writers event in the Metrowords festival, last Thursday.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

At the launch of "New Short Stories 1"

The finest storytellers known to humankind, as identified by the talent scouts of the Willesden Herald gathered for the launch of New Short Stories 1.


I started by dedicating the evening to Shakti Bhatt, whose story "Born Again" is in the anthology. I had the sad duty to tell the audience that Shakti, a former editor for Random House India and recently another publishing venture in New Delhi, had passed away just a few weeks ago after a sudden illness. She was only 27.

From my notes: Tonight is a celebration of the art of the storyteller, especially the short story genre. The short story is the most naturally perfect of the literary arts, consisting of a story that can be told in one sitting. We can also include self-contained chapters from novels under the same umbrella. (Some of our best friends are novelists, y'know.)

Steve Finbow, hotfoot from Japan, started the evening off with a virtuosic, almost musical recital in effect, of an excerpt from his extraordinary 'Balzac of the Badlands'. If that is not a novel in poetry, then...there is no then—it is.

Jonathan Attrill read 'Incident on a Country Road', a sinister short story that held the audience's close attention.

Lynsey Rose read from her disturbing unpublished novel about a self-harming office worker, which I described as like a cross between Bridget Jones' Diary and Kafka's The Trial.

After the interval, I failed miserably to create a coup de theatre by wandering on stage reading a copy of the Willesden Herald. It says here: "Willesden Library Centre: for one night only: The New Short Stories – a cross between PUNK and EMO."

Nicholas Hogg read from his long story 'Paradise'. In his introductory remarks he said that he felt the task of the writer was to bring out the good in things (I'm paraphrasing). "It's not all doom and gloom."

Jeff Achampong read from his novel-in-progress, nearly complete, which is a brilliant tale of a guy with sickle cell, torn between the ties of family and the dangerous street life of gangsterism and drug dealing. Having had the privilege to read it, in my opinion it is a brilliant novel, and could be a very big hit.

Vanessa Gebbie rounded off the evening with a reading of her BBC Guildford prize-winning story, "Naming Finbar", which had the audience in knots of laughter. A marvellous upbeat way to close.

Afterwards in Gigi's, a well-earned drink with Stratos, all the way from Brussels, whose cover art adds so much to the book.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More infamy

storySouth / notable short stories of 2006

One of mine has been listed in this competition for the best stories published online. You must admit at least that it has a striking title. It's near the end of the list.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Patio scene


Vernal squalls shake the may tree, blossoms fall like paper snow.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Remembering Shakti Bhatt

Remembering Shakti Bhatt: a collection of tributes to the late Shakti Bhatt, a young Indian writer and editor who died suddenly this April. Shakti's story "Born Again" was short-listed for the Willesden short story prize 2007 and has been published in the anthology "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 1".

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it...

From: Vanessa Gebbie's News

"The typesetters were on strike, so Stephen Moran had to produce the paper all by himself, with results that were singular. Here he is, pictured checking the settings, in a local hostelry."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Doubt is faith

The word faith relates to its counterpart, doubt. Doubt is not disbelief, doubt is merely a condition of less faith. Whoever talks about doubt necessarily talks about faith, in small quantities. To say "I doubt something" is to say "I have little faith in it", not the same as saying it is indubitably false. Faith is therefore a scale upon which doubt is measured. Doubt is, in effect, a sub-set of faith in the lower degrees. Faith therefore includes doubt, and doubt is a degree of faith. In this way, faith contains doubt, and doubt is a lesser part of faith. The future of religion could well be to appropriate doubt, to co-opt the agnostic. Not for me though.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Short Stories event

This is part of the Metrowords festival. I built that website myself, by the way. Metrowords, "the biggest festival" had no website, would you believe. I have a coup de theatre in mind for the night but I don't think I'll have the nerve required to execute it. It would be funny though.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Colaiste Mhuire in Parnell Square appears to be in disuse. Their website has had no messages added since 2001. Marie Celeste, more like.

The place inspired my short story "Truant". I started secondary education there, but went on the bounce for three months and ended up joining part way through first year in a different school, just like Joseph Murphy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I just read this article about Suzi


"Mrs Pritchard, who lived in Mount Street, off Queens Road, Nuneaton, was a larger-than-life character...In an interview with the Nuneaton Telegraph in 1999, she said: 'I love my writing - like God, I start with nothing and create something. In many ways I have a wonderful life.' "

I took this picture of Suzi, glorious and surrounded by friends, at her birthday party in Nuneaton, December 2003.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cheap suit effect

I setup a MySpace page. I don't know if I'll keep it up, but it saves the namespace anyway. In a bit of a similar way, there is now a Flickr account and a YouTube account for Willesden Herald.