Now in its second year, The White Review Prize was ‘founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing’. I am delighted to have made the shortlist with my piece ‘Spins’ alongside writers whose work I have long admired: please follow the links to read the brilliant ‘MUEUM’ by SJ Fowler, ‘Lives of the Saints’ by Luke Neima, ‘Submission for the Journal of Improbable Interventions’ by Brenda Parker, ‘by Accident’ by David Isaacs, ‘Biophile’ by Ruby Cowling, ‘Obsolescence’ by Joseph Mackertich and ‘Chiral’ by Paul Currion.
My piece can be read here.
On the 22nd March, acclaimed collaborative performance company Forced Entertainment staged their work And on the Thousandth Night as part of Artist of the City 2014 in Lisbon. This is a six hour durational piece:
A story is told, made up live, dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns. It is a long, mutating and endlessly self-cancelling story. It is a story which somehow, in its many dips and turns, seems to include many — if not all — of the stories in the world. Moving from the extraordinary to the banal, it mixes everything from film plots, religious stories, children’s stories, traditional tales, jokes and modern myths, to scary stories, love stories and sex stories.
The Kings and Queens compete, interrupting, exaggerating, taking over each other’s narratives and incorporating stolen bits into their own tales. Their storytelling moves between tiredness and hysteria, between absurd vulgarity and surprising tenderness. At times, some of the Kings and Queens take a break to sleep on the floor at the back of the space whilst their colleagues continue. At ten at night, perhaps, there are only two Kings left speaking, pushing on the tale, as one by one, the others come forward to rejoin the line.
To document the performance, I was invited to participate in a corresponding multi-authored, durational critical writing project hosted by Exeunt Magazine. The writers were stationed in London, Melbourne and Berlin with a brief to respond to the performance’s live-stream provided by the British Council; our texts were contributed in real-time as the piece played. The critical co/(r)/respondents featured the brilliant Jana Perkovic, Deborah Pearson, Anette Therese Pettersen, Bojana Jankovic, Daniel B. Yates and curator Diana Damian Martin, all of whom took ‘questions of duration, text, narrative, performance, error, invention, failure and time itself, alongside those of distance, attention, fragmentation and being together, digitally’ into consideration.
The project can be found here, in reverse order, and an artist’s live sketches of the event were produced by Århus’ Catherine Williams for Generative Constraints journal; please click the drawn images for more information.
Listed as one of Foyles’ Magazines of the Week, I have a short story in Belleville Park Pages No. 10. Pocketsized and Paris-wrought, you can scoop yours up with a bumper wee fold-out work ‘Halves’ by Sophie Haigney for a mere £2. Here are both, modelled first by a good-looking man:
and second by my sister who picked up a copy in situ at Shakespeare & Company bookshop LIKE A CHAMPION.
My short story ‘Scutiform’ is up on the great Visual Verse site, a journal recently launched at the Writing Platform fair and conference 2013. Edited by Preti Taneja and with patrons including Ali Smith, Andrew Motion and Bernadine Evaristo, writers were asked to respond in one hour to a set image: in our case, this photograph of a Galapagos shell by Marc Schlossman.
What I found particularly interesting when reading the submissions were the shared associations that had been clearly ploinked out by the exercise and the image: the word ‘coracle’ and recourse to dictionary definitions are two cases in point. With a roster of different images to come, the journal wants your work too – submit to them here, and read contributions from Nisha Ramayya, Sophie Mayer and others.
Ambit recently relaunched under the directorship of Briony Bax and celebrated its new issue at the University of Notre Dame building in London.
With work by Alan Brownjohn, Jehane Markham and winners of the Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize and a front cover by Doug Argue as hot as a thumbed retina on a summer’s day, my short story ‘Spines’ is bundled-up in the prose section. Many thanks to Mike, Gary and Declan and Kate on the editorial team, and to all of Ambit for the sausage rolls.
The piece requires a mirror in order to get a good hold on the text, hence the ladylike poise, props and crossing-of-eyes. ‘Marks the Spot’ was first published in Chemical Imbalances journal, ed. Matt Lomas.
My story ‘Sketch’ crops up in the new, second collection of Annexe’s Introducing series alongside work by poets Dorothy Lehane and Milou Stella. Please do come along and support this great press, with a chance to snaffle both this and the series’ previous pamphlets on October 7th with an event at The Betsey Trotwood for the official launch – free entry, with 7pm start for performances.
‘Sketch’ is reviewed here, by Sabotage.
I have a short piece of prose in The White Review No. 8 alongside poems by John Ashbery and Jack Underwood, new fiction by China Miéville and interviews with Deborah Levy and Sophie Calle as well as critical work by Orlando Reade and Guy Gormley‘s photographs. From flyleaf to footnote, I’ve long been smitten with this journal so I’m a whole brace of unabashed up-thumbs to be appearing on their contents page this quarter.
The White Review is available to buy via their website, or in bookshops listed here.
Curated by Lawrence Lek and The White Review, the recent ‘Pyramid Schemes’ project brought together a collection of texts concerned with real and imaginary buildings; I was among one of the sixty invited artists and writers to submit a 100-word piece for the exhibition, responding to the call-out to ‘explore architectures of their own creation’.
From Lawrence’s site: ‘For one night only, an immersive installation at The White Building in Hackney Wick will shape the collected texts into a panoramic cityscape. Please join us on Thursday 2nd May from 7-10pm to celebrate the spectacle of this fictional city. A limited edition of fold-out artists’ books will be produced to accompany the event’. There was, and there were! The publication is also available online on the dedicated site, and will provide much fun for your scrolling mouse-wheel/trackpad sensibilities.
Also scooped from Lawrence’s site: here’s a nifty, pyramid-studded list of participants whose texts were used, and a selection of images from the night.
Darran Anderson ▲ David Bainbridge ▲ Anna Blair ▲ Jorge Luis Borges ▲ Martin Byrne ▲ Jen Calleja ▲ Steven Chodoriwsky ▲ S.J. Christmass ▲ Calvin Chua ▲ Holly Corfield-Carr ▲ Rishi Dastidar ▲ Adrian Dannatt ▲ Alexandre Dumas et al. ▲ Rachel Falconer ▲ Jon Ferguson ▲ Adam Nathaniel Furman ▲ Niall Gallacher ▲ Patrick Goddard ▲ Oliver Griffin ▲ Evan Harris ▲ Rye Dag Holmboe ▲ John Holten ▲ Matt Hutchinson ▲ Miranda Iossifidis ▲ Daniel Ivec ▲ Claire Jamieson ▲ Verity-Jane Keefe ▲ Clare Kirwan ▲ Miles Klee ▲ Alana Kushnir ▲ Léopold Lambert ▲ Patrick Langley ▲ Lawrence Lek ▲ Bella Marrin ▲ Dorrell Merritt ▲ Thomas More ▲ Amanda Oosthuizen ▲ Daniel Rourke ▲ Andi Schmied ▲ Jack Self ▲ Camila Sotomayor ▲ St. Augustine ▲ Viktor Timofeev ▲ Karen Whiteson ▲ Eley Williams ▲ Nathan Witt ▲ Alan Worn
The exhibition dovetails with Lawrence’s essay ‘Pyramid Schemes: Reading The Shard’, featured in The White Review No. 7 alongside works by Luc Tuymans and John Stezaker.
Annexe Magazine set itself an exercise in curatorial trust with its recent collaborative online project XZ#1. From their guidelines:
The aim is to get inside stories and see how different writing styles can join forces to create something fresh, but recognisable. To do this, we’re taking particular genres/styles/species of fiction and breaking them down, looking under the hood and building them back up in smaller chunks.
Each story gets six writers and each writer gets one section. They are given a bare framework to work on, everything else is up to them, and they aren’t told what the other five writers are coming up with.
The genre was fixed as ‘noir’, three character names were supplied and the word-count was suggested; other than that, all five writers were given free rein. An untethered rein, too – each participant was only provided with the preceding chapter as a basis for their submission. Narrative as sandpit, so it’s interesting that the final piece Singing the Necessaries saw jawlines, bottles, cigarettes and the colour blue garner quite so much shared press.
The illustrations are also very tasty. I recommend popping on some stinking jazz and giving it a quick virtual thumb-through below. With thanks to editor Nick Murray, and the other contributors Ben Gwalchmai, Komal Verma, Akiho Schilz, Jack Swain and John Boursnell.