Ronald Firbank

Writing Week 4: The Rulebreakers

  In uncertain times we demand more rules, not fewer The history of fiction, by which I mean all fiction – I’m not interested in separating ‘literature’ from ‘genre’ – follows the growth pattern of all the arts; rules are established, traditional forms are developed, rules are broken. But something odd happened in fiction that […]

The Invisible Novel

People don’t care where quotes come from. Does a book exist if nobody reads it? To the author, certainly. The profoundly innovative, ill-fated Ronald Firbank, who hid entire literary worlds in half-sentences, self-published in ever-shrinking quantities to no acclaim whatsoever. And that was in a time when the writer word was the sole media, so […]

Forum: Should Writers Write For The Market?

  In film industry terms the summer’s over, and it was another year of disappointments in Hollywood. Only one studio did well; Disney had four of the five biggest hits. What’s noticeable is how super-safe everything became this year. The top five films were ‘The Jungle Book’ (remake of cartoon), ‘Finding Dory’ (kiddie sequel), ‘Zootopia’ […]

Whimsy Is The New Reality

There are certain literary traits I don’t much care for; over-earnestness, sentiment, nostalgia and manufactured ‘edge’ being among the worst – TV crime dramas seem to believe that everything should be grim and shouty – Tony Hancock once said ‘You can get away with anything if you keep a straight face’ – but I’ve never […]

The Return Of Britannica

Add it to the list of projects on my horizon… A few years ago I wrote a story in homage to Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’ trilogy, and I was so happy with the way it turned out that I wrote a sequel. The pair became known as the ‘Britannica Castle’ stories. They were ludicrously baroque, fanciful, […]