Writer, editor, reviewer

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The Riveter magazine – Polish writing 0

To celebrate The London Book Fair 2017 Poland Market Focus, the European Literature Network launched its very first print magazine, The Riveter. Born out of the Network’s monthly #Riveting Reviews and with much help from a range of knowledgeable and discerning contributors, the magazine is guest edited by Deborah Levy, with a cover illustration by Chris Riddell.

I had the honour to edit the magazine, in collaboration with Rosie Goldsmith, and contributing editors, Anna Blasiak and Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

 

I also reviewed for the magazine what in my view is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century – Wiesław Myśliwski’s Stone Upon Stone.

With more content than we could fit into the forty pages of the print publication, we focused the European Literature Network’s March #Riveting Reviews on Polish writing too. I edited these and wrote a companion review of Myśliwski’s award-winning A Treatise on Shelling Beans.

 

 

 

 

The Riveter, Edition One, March 2017, is supported by The London Book Fair, the British Council and the Polish Cultural Institute, and will be available at Polish literature events throughout 2017. The European Literature Network will also make a pdf of the expanded magazine available to download at the end of March.

 

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European Literature Days reviews for Elit 0

European Literature Days is an annual festival held in the Austrian town of Spitz. Organised by the Elit, Literaturhaus Europa, the 2016 festival’s them was migration.

As part of the festival, I wrote two reviews: one of Tim Parks’ novel, Dreams of Rivers and Seas, the other of From the Ruins of Empire, Pankaj Mishra’s re-examination of Asia’s response to colonialism.

 

 

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Editing for Stonock and Create Associates arts consultancies 0

Lois Stonock

Over the past few months I have been working on a range of projects for Lois Stonock and her arts and curatorial consultancy, Stonock.

Lois advises arts organisations on business planning, arts strategies and also writes extensively about a variety of arts projects.

Lois is also part of Create Associates, a collective of curators, academics and artists who Image result for create associatesspecialise in writing arts, culture and community strategies.

Through Lois I have taken on editing projects for a range of work from Create Associates, including pitches, presentations, strategy documents and website copy.

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Iceland Noir – Iceland’s Festival of Crime Fiction 0

In November, I travelled to Reykjavík with Karen Sullivan and a host of Orenda authors for Iceland Noir – a crime fiction festival organised by two of those authors and an Orenda translator, among others.

Attended by crime fiction greats such as Val McDermid (who gave the keynote speech) Ann Cleeves and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, the three days of talks were intriguing – as was my first visit to the North Atlantic island.

My feature piece about the festival was published on  ELit Literature House Europe and on the European Literature Network:

Iceland Noir – Iceland’s Festival of Crime Fiction by West Camel

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An Interview with Translator Don Bartlett 0

In September my interview with Norwegian < English translator, Don Bartlett was published on the  ELit Literature House Europe website and the European Literature Network.

I have worked with Don on his translations of Gunnar Staalesen’s crime novels for Orenda Books; and in preparation for the interview, I took my first plunge into Karl Ove Knausgaard’s remarkable work.

The result was a comparison between two contemporary greats of Norwegian literature. The results were fascinating.

An interview with translator Don Bartlett by West Camel

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#Riveting Reviews and Other Dutch Delights 0

In January I was once again editor of the European Literature Network’s monthly Riveting Reviews.

January’s  reviews were devoted to Dutch Literature. Celebrating #HighImpactAllStars – the Network’s evening of literature from the Low Countries, ably hosted, as always by Rosie Goldsmith – alongside Dutch specialist Aimee Hardy, I commissioned and edited reviews of new titles in English from Herman Koch, Gerard Reve, Esther Gerritsen, and others. I also wrote a feature review of The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories. 

 

 

 

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Orenda Update – spring 2017 titles 0

Orenda Books goes from strength to strength.

Over the past few months I’ve worked on a selection of titles from Orenda’s crime and literary fiction list for spring 2017.

Some of my highlights include:

Sealskin by Su Bristow.

A retelling of the selkie myth, Sealskin is a beautifully lyrical and delicately nuanced novel about redemption, community and the blurred lines between magic and the everyday.

 

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski:

Inspired by the true-crime podcast investigation Serial, Six Stories is part transcript, part tone poem, part crime thriller. Following an investigative journalist exploring a decades-old death at an outward-bound centre, six individuals give their six different and at times conflicting versions of the same story – a hugely original, and deeply sinister debut.

 

I also worked on Deep Down Dead, a debut action thriller from crime-fiction blogger Steph Broadribb, AKA CrimeThrillerGirl. If the cover says movie, there’s a reason … one of the most cinematic books I’ve ever edited.

 

I worked closely with Matt Johnson on Deadly Game, the fast-paced, complex sequel to his debut, Wicked Game. Like the first book, this reeks of authenticity, as you’d expect from an ex-SAS officer.

 

Another of my detailed editing jobs was on the third part in Paul E Hardisty’s Claymore Straker trilogy, Reconciliation for the Dead, which offers a shocking insight into South Africa’s apartheid years. Paul’s prose is at its most lyrical, as he takes us back to the Angolan war of the 1980s and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of the 1990s.

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The Old Vic 12 Longlist 2016: Playwrights 0

Image result for old vic 12In September 2016, I was delighted to be longlisted for The Old Vic 12 competition, playwrights section.

The competition is part of The Old Vic’s New Voices programme, and is aimed at developing new talent in various theatre disciplines:

‘The Old Vic 12 sees emerging creatives engaging with people at the top of their profession across a wide range of theatrical disciplines’ – Old Vic, Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus.

As a longlister, I had the opportunity to discuss my work with an Old Vic associate and see a few of the Old Vic’s productions, including Liz Dwan in No’s Knife, and Art.

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An Orenda Summer 0

This summer, with Orenda Books publisher Karen Sullivan away in her native Canada, then piloting her various authors through their events at the Edinburgh Book Festival, I spent quite a bit of time looking after the Orenda shop.

Three books I saw through the editorial and production process to the printers were:

A Suitable Lie, Michael J Malone’s subtle and shocking investigation of masculinity. A departure for Malone, A Suitable Lie takes a new and moving perspective on one of society’s ills. Essential reading.

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The Exiled, the third in Kati Hiekkapelto’s series of socially conscious crime novels featuring investigator Anna Fekete. The Exiled takes Anna from her adopted Finland back to her birthplace on the Serbia-Hungary border, where she becomes caught up in the tensions between the various resident communities – Serb, Hungarian, Romani – and the wave of desperate refugees attempting to access the European Union.

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The Bird Tribunal, by Agnes Ravatn – a pitch-perfect study in quiet, psychological terror. With tones of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, The Bird Tribunal is spare, chilling and told in exqusite literary prose, translated beautifully by Rosie Hedger.

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In addition to these titles, I’ve been working on Blackout the latest in Ragnar Jónasson’s hugely successful Dark Iceland series of crimes novels.

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I’ve also helped edit Louise Beech’s A Mountain in My Shoe – another socially conscious novel, which examines the meaning of family and deals in a very authentic way with the failures and successes of the UK’s care system.

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Spring 2017 titles are currently in production. Needless to say, Orenda goes from strength to strength!

 

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Reviews for the European Literature Network 0

Over the past few months, I’ve been contributing monthly reviews to the excellent European Literature Network, a project led by journalist and champion of all things literary and European, Rosie Goldsmith.

My recent reviews include a feature-length piece on Stephanie Heuet & Arthur Goldhammer’s adaptation of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way, which I found visually appealing, but satisfying only insofar as it reminds me of the genius of the original.

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I also wrote a very well-received (by the author, no less!!) review, of Burhan Sönmez’s third novel, Istanbul Istanbul, by which I was enchanted.

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My first experience of Estonian author Rein Raud was when I selected one of his short stories for Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2015. His novella The Brother, is the first piece of his long-form writing to appear in English. I reviewed it for Eurolitnetwork and I was rapt by this ‘exquisite literary puzzle’.

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