The View From Here

I've been a very absent blogger lately; I'm sure you're all sick of nothing but links to book reviews. Let's have a quick detour to an art exhibition instead, eh?

Andy Broadey (my partner) has got a solo show on at the moment in Manchester's BLANKSPACE gallery. He's been working on his fine art PhD for nearly four years, now, and this show is the culmination of his work. (He has to hand in a dissertation too, but to be fair, you aren't going to be reading that, so let's sidestep and carry on.) The exhibition's called 'The View From Here' and if you go along you'll see three big photographic installations. He's interested in conventions of gallery design and display and architectural interventions into exhibition spaces. The opening was last Thursday and it went really well - huge thanks to those of you that turned up, with a special shout-out to Kim and Will, and the Wild clan! - and the show will be up until August 7th. Andy'll be there most of the time and I'll be around sometimes too, so get your asses over there. It's just down the road from the Anthony Burgess centre, for those of you who've been there. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 1pm-7pm (Tuesdays until 9pm) and weekends, 11am-4pm. (oh, and edit to add: Kevin Bradshaw's written a very thoughtful review of the show here, and Sarah-Clare Conlon's got another one here!)

Other than that, I'm ploughing my way through a mountain of book reviews and worrying vaguely about the novel and reading massively inappropriate stories to the baby and drinking gallons of tea. Same old, same old.

The Culture Diaries

When I was volunteering for the Manchester Literature Festival last year, I wrote a couple of blog posts about a poetry workshop run by writer John Siddique (which reminds me: I wrote a couple of haikus at that workshop - I'm almost feeling brave enough to look at them again now. Also - is haikus really the plural of haiku? It looks pretty odd when you write it down. Hmm.) Anyway, John's got a feature over on his blog called the Culture Diaries, where he asks guests to keep a diary of their cultural activities for seven days and then posts the result to the site. He asked me to contribute a while ago, but the baby-mania here kept me distracted and I only got around to it last week. I don't know how many of you keep diaries? I don't - I often think I ought to (it seems very writery to keep a journal) and I did start and abandon several when I was in school, but it's not a habit I've ever managed to properly acquire. But now I'm inspired to start one up again, because doing the exercise for John was so illuminating. It made me realize exactly how much I do, or can do, in a day; it made me reflect on the day, even if that reflection didn't make it into the entry itself; and it showed me how much I forget - reading back over the entries for early last week, I'm sure that I'd have otherwise forgotten most of the detail by now - in just a week! Anyway, the result is here. Thanks, John!

Jeremy Chambers review

My review of Jeremy Chambers' The Vintage And The Gleaning is live at Bookmunch.


My friend (and Bookmunch editor) Peter Wild has an article in the Guardian today - look! It's a review of a new Flannery O'Connor book - a collection of her cartoons. How cool is that? Pete, you the man!

(Also: somebody please buy me this book and give it to me and I'll act all surprised and abashed and I'll be dead grateful and happy. Ta!) 

Various Authors review

My review of the Fiction Desk's first anthology, Various Authors, is live at Bookmunch.