Episode #14: How to Write
- Elena Ferrante has a column in The Guardian every Saturday – the most recent is ‘If you feel the urge to write, there’s no good reason to put it off’ published on 12 May 2018;
- Charlotte (@lottelydia) has tweeted 42,800 times. Emma (@emmaelinor) has tweeted 4,442 times (though she still hasn’t written her book); @TNKpod is at a humble 111 at the time of writing;
- The book Emma is working on is Labour MP Rachel Reeves’ The Women of Westminster: MPs who Changed Politics (London: I.B. Tauris, 2019);
- Charlotte’s piece on the Open University – ‘In 2018, we can all learn from the Open University’s radical roots’ – was published by Prospect on 13 April 2018;
- Read more about Stephanie Boland’s work here, and follow her on Twitter @stephanieboland;
- Mary Agnes Hamilton’s red shoes featured in TNK002 on performative scruffiness, feminist selfies and what women wear to parliament. Listen to the episode here;
- Parts of Emma’s journalism CV is available here if anyone’s interested;
- There’s a tiny bit of info about Longyearbyen Literature Festival here; Emma’s article was published in the May 2018 issue of Condé Nast Traveller, which is no longer in the shops, but here are a couple of pages from it:
- Charlotte’s article ‘“Tropical Allsorts”: The Transnational Flavor of British Development Policies in Africa’ was published in Vol. 26, No. 4 (2015) of the Journal of World History; take a look at the Women’s History Review here and the Journal of Contemporary History here;
- Emma’s PhD thesis – ‘Practical Solidarity: Connections Between Swedish Social Democratic Women and Women in the African National Congress of South Africa, 1960-1994’ (Birkbeck, University of London, 2016) is available here;
- Here’s REF’s explanation for what REF is;
- Charlotte’s PhD thesis – ‘Monstrous predatory vampires and beneficent fairy-godmothers: British post-war colonial development in Africa’ (UCL, 2013) – is available here. (The first sentence reads: “The immediate aftermath of the Second World War saw physical devastation and economic dislocation across Europe.”);
- “[Academic publishing] is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell.” By Stephen Buranyi, The Guardian, 27 June 2017;
- Wise man Nick Laird wrote: “1. The first draft of anything is shit. (Not necessarily true for poetry, which often finds its germination in the initial phrasing itself, but true – at least for me – for fiction.) 2. All the time you’re wandering around or watching a pigeon or queuing for coffee is thinking time, and when I was a lawyer you could bill your clients for that, so it must count for something. 3. If you just sit there for long enough, something will happen.” The whole article is here;
- Scrivener: it’s not the prettiest, but it works;
- Patricia Lockwood’s ‘How Do We Write Now’ was originally a lecture, published by Tin House on 10 April 2018. Here’s an extract: “The single best way to give the morning back to myself is to open a real book as I drink my first cup of coffee. I’m not sure why real books are best. I think the pages remind me that I have fingerprints. I think I like to see what I have read lying sweetly by the side of what I’m about to read, like a wife.” Follow Patricia on Twitter @TriciaLockwood;
- Here’s all you need to know about the Pomodoro Technique;
- Stig Dagerman! This New York Review of Book’s article by Steven Hartmann is followed by Stig’s short story ‘To Kill A Child’;
- Charlotte quotes from Grace Paley’s procrastibaking poem ‘The Poet’s Occasional Alternative’, which was published in Begin Again (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000):
- Charlotte recommends Deborah Levy’s Things I Don’t Want to Know (London: Penguin Books, 2013);
- Emma recommends The Paris Review interviews – you’ll find the Toni Morrison one online here. Emma also recommends Hilary Mantel’s Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir, in which Mantel writes: “This is what I recommend to people who ask me how to get published. Trust your reader, stop spoon-feeding your reader, stop patronising your reader, give your reader credit for being as smart as you at least, and stop being so bloody beguiling: you in the back row, will you turn off that charm! Plain words on plain paper. Remember what Orwell says, that good prose is like a window-pane. Concentrate on sharpening your memory and peeling you sensibility. Cut every page you write by at least one-third. Stop constructing those piffling little similes of yours. Work out what it is you want to say. Then say it in the most direct and vigorous way you can. Eat meat. Drink blood. Give up your social life and don’t think you can have friends. Rise in the quiet hours of the night and prick your fingertips, and use the blood for ink; that will cure you of persiflage! But do I take my own advice? Not a bit. Persiflage is my nom de guerre. (Don’t use foreign expressions; it’s elitist.)” (London: Fourth Estate, 2013, pp. 4-5)
- Carolyn Steedman is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Histoy at Warwick University. Read more about her here and read her recent piece ‘Middle-Class Hair’ for the London Review of Books here;
- Lynsey Hanley’s Respectable: Crossing the Class Divide was published by Penguin in 2017. An extract from the book was published by The Guardian in 2016 – read that here.
THE NEXT EPISODE…
…Will be about writers: whose books are we reading, and what's with the gendering of book covers?
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