Today Amit Chaudhuri gave my cohort a masterclass on the theme of aesthetic decisions in fiction writing. I like to hear writers talk about what brought them to the place they’re now in, and Amit spoke a lot about the thought-processes he’d gone through as a young Indian writer in London. He had worked out quite early on that what he was really interested in writing about was the commonplace. This was at odds with the contemporary expectations of what an English-language Indian novel could or should be: Amit did not want to write a vast cultural panorama in the style of Midnight’s Children, and furthermore the ideas of Empire and post-colonialism weren’t concepts he felt the need to challenge within his writing. ‘I never felt peripheral,’ he explained. Continue reading
Old Man of the Woods
The Destroying Angel
Man on Horseback
- invent new tarot arcana.
- choose two or more of these names and create a story involving them.
- poisonous or edible? Take a guess.
Walking home one evening, I passed a house with full-length windows. In one of the windows, two very little girls were hiding behind the curtain, their backs to the glass. One was naked from the waist down. They were so absorbed in their hiding they didn’t realise that from the street you could see everything.
Did I ever say? I’m at UEA now doing the Creative Writing prose MA. I think it’s saved my life.
I feel almost as if I am convalescing from a long illness. Partly the illness was London – ugh! the poverty, the travelling, the all-at-once claustro/agorophobia, the soul-drain, the cruelty – and partly perhaps having a job that placed no value on me. It is only now I’ve left all that stuff that I can really see how desperately hard I worked all the time just to keep my head above water. Continue reading