Wisdom 2.0 and the growth of mindfulness

What would Christianity be like today if someone had videoed the Sermon on the Mount and put it on YouTube? Would Jesus get more views than Justin Bieber? Unlikely. But I believe that if such a video appeared today, our understanding of Christianity would be profoundly transformed. We don’t have the Sermon on the Mount.Continue reading “Wisdom 2.0 and the growth of mindfulness”

Memory of Uncle Peter

I have received three truly memorable Chistmas presents in my life. One was a watch. One was an Optimus Prime transformer toy (memorable because I snaped the heroic Autobot leaders arm off three miniutes after unwrapping him and spent the rest of the day in tears). And one was a lump of plasticine. My UncleContinue reading “Memory of Uncle Peter”

REPOST: The new world of New Weird

I have decided to repost my Guardian articles on this blog, simply because I want to keep a record of the full texts as published. I know it’s unlikely that the Grauniad will disappear any time soon, but stranger things happen… Three years on from the original publication of this piece, and more than aContinue reading “REPOST: The new world of New Weird”

Wordcount – an overrated measure of progress?

As writers it is natural that we look for some measure of our progress, day to day, when it comes to the work of writing. And make no mistake, writing is work. Yes, it’s inspiration also. But in truth, most things worth doing require some element of inspiration. And they also all require work, theContinue reading “Wordcount – an overrated measure of progress?”

Great art is connected with courage and truthfulness

A quote from Iris Murdoch, interviewed in the Paris Review, that I want to remember – To write a good book you have to have certain qualities. Great art is connected with courage and truthfulness. There is a conception of truth, a lack of illusion, an ability to overcome selfish obsessions, which goes with goodContinue reading “Great art is connected with courage and truthfulness”

Places I will be

Looking at my diary yesterday I realised that I’m doing a number of talks and public events over the next few weeks. This is exciting and , of course, a little nerve wracking. Most of us are drawn to writing as a way to spend large amounts of time alone, in our own imaginations, drinkingContinue reading “Places I will be”

This is not a recession, it is the end of an era

UPDATE : WordPress.com won’t let me embed the Prezi, so you’ll just have to make use of your opposable thumbs and click the link. If you haven’t discovered Prezi yet, you really should. It’s one of the most powerful communication tools on the interwebs, and possibly a minor-revolution for the written word. But this isn’tContinue reading “This is not a recession, it is the end of an era”

The SpecFic books I read again and again

John DeNardo challenged a number of writers to think about the speculative fiction they return to again and again. My response is bellow. I would love to see a similar challenge for the nonSF books that Sf writers are influenced by, that would be fascinating. Also, I seem to have declared the death of ScienceContinue reading “The SpecFic books I read again and again”

Some thoughts on teaching creative writing

I get to start this post with some good news which I have been sitting on for a while now. As of later this year I will be taking over as Course Director for the Certificate in Creative Writing at the Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester. I was extremely excited to be offeredContinue reading “Some thoughts on teaching creative writing”

We need a National Library Service

I know the political climate is not good for encouraging large new public initiatives, but the current problems facing our local, community libraries, with an estimated 500 facing closure this year as a result of government spending cuts, needs to be seriously addressed. As today’s National Save Our Libraries day protest demonstrates, libraries are amongContinue reading “We need a National Library Service”

Is speculative fiction poised to break into the literary canon?

The Booker prize judges have yet to acknowledge the flowering of British SF and fantasy. Will 2011 be a breakthrough year? Speculative fiction has produced many great works of literature. Even a partial list of SF’s canonical works could fill many blogposts. It would be difficult to talk seriously about the last century of literatureContinue reading “Is speculative fiction poised to break into the literary canon?”