Blog

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
Writing is a craft first and an art second. It happens every few years; someone suggests we abandon correct spelling in schools to 'liberate' children from rules and level the literacy playing field. This month, in a clickbait story designed to have Daily Telegraph readers clutching their pearls, universities have been talking about abandoning correct spelling again. Hull University has said it…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
The Ending Soars into Very English Tragedy 'A novel from the author of several previous books,' said the Amazon logline about 'Jubb', one of Keith Waterhouse's astonishing black comedies. Was there ever a less appealing biography? I'm not sure I want to live in a world where 'bibulous hack' Waterhouse is out of print. His novels are now only available from secondhand shelves. Leeds-born Waterhouse…
26 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
To write a family scene I really have to use my imagination 'Don't show me pictures of your baby,' says Brendon Gleeson in 'The Guard', 'they're all the same except the really ugly ones.' For a couple of decades selfish London urbanites looked upon children as if they were visitors from Mars. 'Are they dwarves?' asked my friend when she came out of a film screening one morning in town. 'No, Sarah…
35 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
A lengthy conversation with my agent this morning on the subject of writing (what else?). I've been receiving review copies of lots of crime novels, many of which I find completely unreadable. Partly this is down to their authors' use of cliché, but often it's the sheer unreality of everything, as if it's all been copied from bad TV dramas. Their authors misuse parataxis, which is the ordinary…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
Let's have a laugh at some would-be writers who spend their precious time sending out unsolicited manuscripts with lines like these, from an editor who wishes to remain anonymous... David wasn't much, she admitted, but at least he was an up-and-coming businessman or lawyer. She screamed in the soprano range until her diners came running. Carlotta's eyes dropped to the handkerchief in her hands…
39 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
The news this morning that people are frantically booking their post-lockdown flights felt predictable. Imagining perhaps some sunlit moment when the shackles of the world are released and we all dance away into the Elysian Fields, it seems increasingly unlikely that such a scenario will unfold. The idea of attending a fiesta in Seville, say, now seems as remote as a mission to Mars. Thanks to the…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
You don't need imagination to write drama, you need empathy This week I finished the main draft of 'London Bridge Is Falling Down', the 20th Bryant & May novel, and became aware that I've entered a new stage of a writer's life. I started very young with no confidence at all, fooling around with elaborately drawn graphic novels and short comic tales, then published some silly gift books, then many…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
Lying for a living is no longer the sole province of the writer. A complaint from a reviewer today about a new historical fiction. 'It's interesting, but would have been so much more exciting if we'd known it was a true story instead of fiction.' Why? The obsession with true stories strikes me as odd. In the latest issue of the Crime Writers Association newsletter, author Vera Morris talks about…
22 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
When I was young I used to have a framed print of Charles Edward Perugini's 'Girl Reading' on my wall. It's amazing how many paintings there are of women reading - perhaps because it was considered a genteel, passive image, demure, ladylike and calming. It also suggests virginity or purity; the girl in white, the uneaten apple. How do we read, physically? The small child lies on their front…
46 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Image
This is the latest in an occasional round-up on readers and writers, books and their readability or unreadability, general discussion points for us all. First up; Are you a book snob? Recent reports suggest that one reason for not buying e-books is that others don't know what you're reading. Women find men who carry books less threatening. The young are keen to appear well-read. Bookcases in…
50 comments

Years