Mervyn Peake

Wonderful Books, Awful Books

Now that ‘Invisible Ink’ is finally wending its way toward us in a definitive form (publishers being met, deals being studied etc) I find myself with a dilemma. The weekly column, which ran for almost ten years in the Independent on Sunday, perfectly suits expansion into a longform format, but I’d like to sift the […]

Why Each Book Needs A Single Memorable Moment

I have a friend who wants to be a writer. He tells me he’s about to start ‘a huge series of books, which will be better when they film it as a series’. He still hasn’t started a single one after ten years, despite being obsessed by the idea of quantity. The author Magnus Mills […]

My Favourite Moments In Novels No.2

Some years ago I wrote an essay on Gormenghast and why I loved it so much (naturally, I’ve lost the book it appeared in, and have no recollection of its title). I first read Mervyn Peake’s pinnacle of British fantasy writing when I was about fifteen, and it has lived with me ever since. There […]

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, […]

Hell To Pay

In Mervyn Peake’s ‘Mr Pye’, the titular hero grows horns or a halo depending on whether he experiences goodness or evil. I think this settles the argument about the world’s antichrist press baron. Of course, the Devil usually needs a few ferocious female acolytes, which explains the desperate clinginess of Wendi and the Ginger Pig.