Three stories for autumn

If you’re looking for some reading to inspire your own writing this autumn, you might like to consider some of these stories: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield Read an excerpt here. This is a metafictional novel – a story about stories. The narrator is reminiscent of a Brontë heroine, there are references to 18thContinue reading “Three stories for autumn”

A short story I recently read

‘Arachne’, by Nina MacLaughlin Available here. Less than a 15-minute read. Analysis: Thinking about adaptations and ‘writing back’…  This story is an adaptation of the myth of Minerva (Roman Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, strategic warfare, commerce, weaving, and the crafts) and her interactions with a mortal named Arachne. In the myth, Minerva punishes ArachneContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

Two stories, one theme

This week, I read ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and ‘The Girl with the Louding Voice’ by Abi Daré. Both are first novels by female Nigerian authors, and both highlight an issue that plagues modern Nigeria: the commodification of young women. Both authors tackle this issue in different ways, in different genresContinue reading “Two stories, one theme”

A short story I recently re-read

‘Girl’, by Jamaica Kincaid Available here. It’s very short – less than a 5-minute read. Analysis:  Thinking about elements of story…  The thing about short stories is that they’re able to defy expectations in a way that novels cannot (with a few exceptions), and the way this short story handles structure is a fantastic exampleContinue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

Book review

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess This cult classic novella is narrated by protagonist Alex, 15-years-old at the beginning of the story, and a violent psychopath. The story opens with Alex and his friends committing acts of ‘ultra-violence’ (a term Burgess coined) – stealing, assaulting, raping random strangers – and it isn’t until after thisContinue reading “Book review”

Three of my favourite short stories

I came across a blog post recently that suggested a ‘gratitude’ approach to reading. So, here are 3 books I’m grateful for: ‘Death on the Nile’, by Agatha Christie I am grateful for this book because, first of all, I have always loved going on epic journeys, so I love reading about them too – myContinue reading “Three of my favourite short stories”

Book review

‘Educated’ by Tara Westover An Extract from the opening is available here. This is the beautiful and shocking memoir of a woman who grew up in a difficult family situation, but escaped (in every sense of the word) through education. She lost a lot in the process, but gained a tremendous amount as well, althoughContinue reading “Book review”

A short story I recently read

‘Girls, At Play’, by Celeste Ng Read it here in about half an hour. Trigger warning: makes reference to teenage girls and sexual activity. Thinking about how the story opens, and how readers are engaged… The first paragraph uses an unemotional and factual tone to describe something shocking – a sexualised game, played by childrenContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

Book review

‘A Year in Provence’, by Peter Mayle The setting of this creative nonfiction book, Provence, in the south of France, conjures up feelings of nostalgia for me, as I spent many sun-soaked, soporific, childhood holidays in the region. This is enhanced by the fact it was written and published so long ago – in 1989,Continue reading “Book review”

A short story I recently read

‘The Elephant’, by Chan Chi Wa (translated by Audrey Heijins) Read it here, in less than 10 minutes. Thinking about how the story opens, and how readers are engaged… This short story begins with ‘After the elephant vanished, my life fell into chaos’. Perhaps the reader could imagine a circus owner saying something like thisContinue reading “A short story I recently read”