In my interview published today on The Displaced Nation, author Harriet Springbett talks about being an English writer living in France:
‘When I go back to England and see bookshops stuffed with books, or blogs featuring new books every day, I feel intimidated. Writing stories suddenly seems rather pointless and I wonder what I can possibly add to the overloaded bookshelves. Then I come home to France and it feels rare and right once more. France is my cocoon. If I lived in England, I’m not sure I’d be a writer.’
Harriet’s Tree Magic is published by Impress Books. She is currently writing a story set in the Pyrenees.
The photo shows the tiny chapel at Alendo in the Pyrenees.
Some readers of my posts may feel confused by the polarised nature of my activities: on the one hand writing early medieval fiction and the other hand writing future fiction about exoplanets and other life poetics. I get quite confused by this paradox myself!
However, the medieval historian Henry of Huntingdon, writing in the 12th century, was happy to address readers in the third, fourth and fifth millennia. ‘If mortal generations are prolonged so long as that’, he said. He addressed readers 3,000 years ahead of his own time – ‘I who will be dust in your time have made mention of you in this work, such a long time before your birth’ – because he believed in history’s redemptive potential for both the present and the future. So I guess I shouldn’t worry about my own polarities too much.
For more contemplation on the topic of history and the future see Amanda Jane Hingst’s excellent book on Orderic Vitalis, The Written World, which I was delighted to just buy in the wonderful Raven Secondhand Bookshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
My interview with acclaimed novelist Simon Mawer was recently published on The Displaced Nationsite. Mawer’s fiction has received a slew of prizes: The McKitterick Prize for his first novel, Chimera; The Glass Room was short-listed for the Booker Prize; and Tightrope won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. He has lived in Italy for many years and finds his imagination is fired by the extraordinary and the unfamiliar.
An interview with Booker short-listed novelist, Simon Mawer, is published in my regular column for The Displaced Nation. His novel, Tightrope, set in 1950s London, won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Mawer had a peripatetic upbringing and now lives in Italy. He says that not feeling at home anywhere fires his creativity.
My review of a new book on the artists Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, has just been published in the Times Higher Education.
‘Nothing but devils, buttocks and cod-pieces,’ declared the 17th-century Spanish poet, Francisco de Quevedo, on the paintings of Bosch. In his new book, Joseph Leo Koerner writes that the delectation of Bosch’s The Garden of Delights, ‘draws us like bees to blossom’, whilst Bruegel offers us views ‘that so far exceed our capacity to look that we can never feel finished looking’.
I am currently on a Blog Tour for my new novel, Conquest: Daughter of the Last Kingand have been tackling some very good questions from bloggers about researching, writing and publishing processes, as well questions about the novel itself. See some of my answers here:
An article on English writers living in France, featuring an interview with me, has just been published in the August issue of Living France magazine. It includes information on writers groups, the Writing at the Castle writing workshops, literary festivals in France including Parisot and Charroux, and The English Library in Villefranche-de-Rouergue.