Writer, editor, reviewer

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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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Article – the UK’s reception of Drago Jančar 0

978-1-62897-054-8_twnn-194x300When I was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, one of my first jobs was editing The Tree With No Name, a seminal work by probably Slovenia’s foremost living writer, Drago Jančar.

So, when Elit, Literature House Europe, chose Jančar as one of the authors it wanted to feature in its series of articles about how various European countries respond to literature from other parts of the continent, I was a natural choice of commentator.

My research found that the UK’s response to Jančar is almost not-existent, and this became the theme of my article.

Read my exploration of this remarkable writer’s virtual invisibility in the UK here, on Elit’s website, or here on the European Literature Network.

 

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An interview with John Donatich of Yale University Press 0

IMG_0432Having reviewed the two translations of Máirtin Ó Cadhain’s seminal Irish-language work, Cré na Cille that YUP’s Margellos World Republic of Letters published this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Donatich, Yale’s Director.

Our discussion about the motivations behind publishing two translations of the same book within the same year, and the significance of Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece can be found both here on the European Literature Network website, and here on Elit’s observatory of European literature.

 

 

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Findings on Light — Pars Foundation 0

coverfront600thumbnail150dpi_300Earlier this year I had the great pleasure to copyedit and proofread the publication, Findings on Light. Part of the the Atlas of Creative Thinking — a project developed by the Pars Foundation — this highly original book brings together fifty contributions by poets, artists, scientists and thinkers, all discussing an aspect of light.

Edited by the poet Astrid Alben and Rijksakademie Fellow Hester Aardse, Findings on Light explores bioluminescence in deepsea creatures; how the Vikings used the Iceland spar stone to navigate; Vantablack – the world’s blackest manmade substance; a collection of early lightbulbs; and even how to capture moonlight in a box.

Combining poetry, academic essays, thought-pieces, photography, anecdote and wonderful graphic design, this book is a unique and original treasure.

For a preview of the book and to order it direct from PARS, click here.

 

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Hemon article for ELit & Eurolitnetwork 0

s-l300I recently wrote a piece, published jointly by Rosie Goldsmith’s European Literature Network and ELit – Literaturhaus Europa, about how the UK receives the work of US-Bosnian novelist Aleksandar Hemon and how this differs from his US reception.

Focusing on Hemon’s complex novel The Lazarus Project, I investigate how the novelist’s life experience and the differing histories of the UK and the US inform views of his work.

Find my blog/article both here and here.

 

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Orenda update 0

The past few months have been busy at Orenda Books.

I’ve been beavering away, helping Karen Sullivan edit, proofread and grow her list of literary and crime fiction titles.

Here’s a selection of books I’ve been working on over the past few months:

Paul E. Hardisty’s Evolution of Fear, his second environmental thriller featuring Claymore Straker.

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Amanda Jennings’ In Her Wake, her intriguing story of a woman in search of her real identity. In-Her-Wake-HBcover-copy-275x423

Michael Grothaus’s hard-hitting, challenging, dark and hilarious debut novel, Epiphany Jones.

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Coming up in May, Gunnar Staalesen’s world-weary detective, Varg Veum returns to unpick the past in Where Roses Never Die.

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Newsletter for European Literature Network 0

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With Rosie Goldsmith away in the US for a month, I was given the honour of stepping into her shoes and writing the European Literature Network’s newsletter.

Following Rosie’s lead, this is my personal take on events and issues affecting European literature and culture over the month.

Read my newsletter here.