From Criticism

On Writing ‘Four Poems’ / Sarah Doyle

On writing ‘Ammonite’, ‘Elegy for Victorian Gasworks’, ‘Near Misses’, and ‘Stitches’ (from Issue 9 of The Lonely Crowd). I would say that these four poems fall neatly into two groups of two: the universal (external), and the personal (internal).  Poems in the former category come easier to me than those in the latter. I’ve been…

Forty Years of Editing: Some Do’s, Some Don’ts 1978—2018 / Gerald Dawe

My plan is to think aloud about my experiences, stretching over roughly forty years, of editing sixteen or so titles. These books, edited by myself or with co-editors, include collections of essays, poetry anthologies, editions of individual writers’ work and proceedings from conferences and lecture series. But I’d like to begin with some (brief) personal…

On Writing ‘Detroit’ / Anne Hayden

When I first started writing short stories a few years ago, it didn’t take long for a pattern to emerge: I kept setting them in the dead of night. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, I’m no stranger to the small hours. I’ve spent most of my professional life working the evening shift in newsrooms,…

Writing ‘Waddington’ / James Clarke

Where I’m from, you don’t have to travel very far for the towns to peter out and the hills to start bulging from the ground. I have become very interested in these edgelands, zones where the urban meets the rural, in particular, areas where brown belt land has at some point transitioned back to green.…

On Pincushion / Matt Rader

In the late spring of 2017, a friend and I walked up a local mountain known, in English, as Pincushion. At the summit you look out over Okanagan Lake, a deep freshwater fjord, as it turns southward into the land of antelope brush. Beyond the lake, on the opposite shore, is Okanagan Mountain, and then…

Writing ‘Arrest Me, For I Have Run Away’ Stevie Davies

George Eliot said that the novel, ‘like crystalline masses … may take any form, and yet be beautiful; we have only to pour in the right elements – genuine observation, humour, and passion.’ I have always loved the way Eliot angles this image of crystal masses: the freedom it accords to the novelist. Her remark picks up my memory of schoolgirl experiments in the chemistry lab: we left a dish containing a solution of chemicals; when we came back a week later, it had branched into a multifaceted cluster of crystals, in a structure amazing to the imagination.

Record of a Moment / Jo Mazelis photographs Shani Rhys James

In February I went to visit the artist Shani Rhys James to talk about her work ahead of her forthcoming exhibition in London. I had been asked to write the introduction to the catalogue so I was excited to see both the new work and her workspace. I arrived at Welshpool station to find Shani…

An Interview with Tom Vowler

Dan Coxon Ask five writers what it is that makes a great short story, and you’ll probably receive five different answers. Some will focus on form, others on characters, or plot. Some will be all about the language. If there’s one point that they’ll all agree on, it’s that a short story should be concise.…