Author: Sean

Reviews, Writing musings

Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, and why form matters

    This strange, wonderful and ultimately frustrating book from 2018 Man Booker International Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk has got me thinking about the importance of form. First published in 2007 in Polish, and only translated into English last year (and beautifully translated at that, by Jennifer Croft) the book is filled with memorable lines …

Writing musings

The oblique: why the best writing comes from the glimpsed, the half-heard and the barely understood

‘Write what you know’ is one of the most repeated and most tedious pieces of writing advice, though you’ll find plenty of good writers and teachers of writing who recommend the opposite and say ‘write what you don’t know’. I don’t think that’s quite right, either. The very best fiction, and especially the best short …

Writing tips

The road to your next piece of fiction is lonely, even if it’s crowded

Writing is remorselessly, pitilessly, ruthlessly solitary. Yet, for all that, the act can be performed perfectly well in a busy café, or surrounded by noisy kids or – my favourite place of all – on a train. But the process itself demands something meditative: the capacity to take your whole self into that part of …