Mike in Finland

lauantai 22. joulukuuta 2012

Cinderella pantomime


It´s been a week since the end of our Cinderella pantomime´s run. The dust has settled (and the excitement) and it´s about time to post a couple of photos from the production.


Here´s the wicked step-mother, Estella, and the two step-sisters. Nasty pieces of work, as you can see. A glass slipper would never fit on either of their feet, you might think. In fact, we took some liberties with the original story. In our version, the second sister, Patience, gets the slipper onto her foot, just after the Prince has recognised Cinderella. For a moment he looks from Cinders, to step-sister, and back; then decides to take Cinderella. Patience points out to her sister, Prudence, that they never had a chance, whereon Prudence suggests that there are plenty more fish in the sea. Exit Buttons and Manfred, hotly pursued by the two sisters.

The mirror-on-the-wall also made an appearance, and after informing the Queen that she was not the fairest in the land and being informed in her turn that she was in the wrong fairytale, went on to advise the Queen that the Prince was in need of a wife. That got the plot back on track.

Here´s the whole cast:


sunnuntai 16. joulukuuta 2012

Tampere University Creative Writing in English


This autumn the language centre of Tampere University started a new English course in creative writing. Each week throughout the autumn term half of the course participants posted a text to the course blog. The other half posted a text the following week. Class sessions involved discussing that week´s pieces in small groups, plus completing an in-class writing exercise which could be worked up into a finished piece of writing out of class, if the author felt it was a piece they wanted to pursue.

Over the 13 weeks of the course a very wide range of writing was produced: from realist to the supernatural; from re-workings of classic texts (Romeo and Juliet appeared in a new light, and so did Plato) to experimental pieces, to song lyrics; from minimalist poetry to fiction that extended over several weeks´ submissions.

There is a public blog with examples of work produced on the course at:

http://utawriters.blogspot.com/

maanantai 10. joulukuuta 2012

Special price on Amazon for The Finn´s Tale and Midas Touch



Here´s some great news, just in time for Christmas: the Kindle versions of my novel, The Finn´s Tale, and poetry collection, Midas Touch, are on special offer on Amazon now at £1.53 or $2.45. If you don´t have a Kindle reader, you can download a free app that allows you to read Kindle books from an ordinary pc. My Mac can read them without needing to download any software.

If you still see the old price, then wait another day. It takes Amazon a bit of time to update their site.

If you´re in Finland, you need to go to the American site, Amazon.com to download Kindle versions. American and Canadian readers will find The Finn´s Tale interesting for its revelations about the life of Finnish immigrants in the early 20 century, especially if they have Scandinavian roots.


Update on Wednesday 12 December: The reduced price is up on Amazon.co.uk but not on the American page. I don´t know why it´s taking so long, but it should be coming soon. Just hang in there, folks. (Amazon Canada has the Kindle version for $2.99 which works out at about €2.40).


keskiviikko 5. joulukuuta 2012

The Next Big Thing




This is The Next Big Thing. Each Wednesday, invited authors answer a set of questions about the writing project(s) they are currently engaged in. They then invite 5 further authors to continue the discussion the following week, providing a short biography by way of introduction. My selected authors can be found at the end of this post.

I was tagged by Adele Ward whose blog you will find at this address:
www.adeleward.blogspot.com

Many thanks to Adele for inviting me.


1. What is the working title of your next book?

Arthur´s Eventful Weekend. Sounds a bit quaint, I know. One friend, when I told him the title, said, `Oh, is it a children´s book?´ I can understand that it sounds a bit like that, but no, it´s not a children´s book.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I don´t really know. It contains many scenes that are based on actual experience and I imagine it must be one of those that acted as the trigger, but I really cannot remember the point at which they began to form into a story or how that happened.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

I´m not sure that I know the names of all the genres. Is there one that includes a first person narrator taking stock of his life as a result of receiving information that makes him question who he is? That sounds a bit like it could be confessional, but I myself don´t see it that way. Another way to define it might be to refer to the fact that many of the scenes, events, characters and even imagery are derived from the Arthurian legends and transposed into modern settings. Maybe it´s a modern epic. On second thoughts, no, it ain´t epic enough for that.


4. What actors would you chose to play the part of your characters in a movie version?

Arthur is a 51 year old man; short, slightly plump, thinning on top but not really bald yet. He´s a highly contradictory character. I can´t think of a male actor that fits that description, though of course, many must exist. If anyone is picturing Arthur Lowe from his Dad´s Army days, that´s not the idea I mean. Julia is the other main character. She and Arthur are married. The marriage is rather tense. She ´s quite a strong character. It would need an actress who is good at conveying the impression that she is constantly having to keep her temper in check. Who would that be?


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As a result of questioning his own origins, Arthur takes stock of his past and eventually sets out on a quest to change one part of it. (I use the word quest advisedly, although I might add that the book ends as his quest begins.) That´s two sentences, isn´t it?


6. Will your book be published or represented by an agent?

I understand that it will be published by Ward Wood Publishing sometime next year.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?

About a year.


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This may be my idiosyncracy, but I sometimes think of it as my Jane Eyre. However, I´m a bit odd and probably the only person ever likely to imagine the remotest similarity between the two.


9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Partly King Arthur, and partly a woman and man team who may have tried to mug me in Italy. `May´ here means that if that was their intention, they backed off before committing the deed.


10. What else about the book might pique the reader´s interest?

Arthur speculates about many things during his reminiscing, including the range of lengths of foreskin to be found on the male member. This is an issue that can have serious consequences.


That´s me done. I hope my answers inspire some interest among readers. And now I pass the baton. I contacted 5 writer friends. Three have agreed to do their bit next week. Their biogs are below. I am waiting to hear from one more and I will add her details as soon as I get her agreement. The fifth writer, Nancy Mattson, felt unable to participate since she has no writing projects on the go, so instead I will recommend her two recent publications: Lines From Karelia and Finns and Amazons, both fromArrowhead Press.

Joan Barbara Simon

Novelist, poet and researcher, Joan Barbara Simon writes intellectual erotica, short stories, poems, post-ethnic literature, children’s stories and academic publications on children's plurilingual cognitive development. She is the author of Mut@tus (2009), shortlisted for the Eight Cuts Gallery Prize in 2010, of Long Time Walk on Water (2009) and The Red Room (2009). She is also the editor of a number of anthologies of creative writing.

on Mut@tus:
‘This is some luscious prose. This goes beyond erotica, beyond the culturally censurable. It is sheer beauty as was Henry Miller at his most liberated. What I loved most of all was the slow transition between objectivity to subjectivity. At some point there was a breach, just as there is that point of contact before which there was no sex and beyond which sex was undeniable. There was a breach, but where? That is the beauty of your writing and the transmogrification of the characters in your novel. I feel they would be dumb to put words to the process themselves. But, somehow their creator did. And marvelously, too! I back this confidently, gloriously!!! ’
online review (authonomy)

on Long Time Walk on Water:
In some ways this is very different from the same author's Mut@tus, which is one of my very favourite books. Where Mut@tus is a very inward-looking tale of one woman's self-discovery, Long Time Walk on Water has an epic sweep that takes us on a global voyage where Mut@tus takes us on a journey through the soul. Yet look closer and the stamp of Simon's writing is clear. The exquisite interweaving of narratives, the way she captures the moments of realisation, actualisation and passion that pepper her characters' lives. And like Mut@tus this is, at base, a journey of self-discovery, beautifully crafted, and one that will leave the reader as changed as Simon’s characters. Highly, highly recommended.’
online review (amazon)

visit Joan Barbara Simon's website:
http://www.joan-barbara-simon.com


Ann Alexander

Ann Alexander lives in Cornwall now, but was an advertising copywriter in London for many years. Her three collections are Facing Demons and Nasty, British & Short from Peterloo, and Too Close, from Ward Wood.

Since Ann doesn´t have her own blog, I will be hosting her Next Big Thing here on my blog. Check it out next Wednesday.

Donald Adamson

Donald Adamson is a poet and translator, currently living in Finland and Scotland. In 1995 he was awarded a Scottish Arts Council writer’s bursary. He has lived in France, the Middle East, and Finland, and has translated Finnish poems for How to address the fog: Finnish poems 1978-2002 (Carcanet/Scottish Poetry Library, 2005); also songs for the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and for the World Music group Värttinä – the texts in the CD Miero were gruesome enough to be described by a critic as ‘cultural terrorism’. He is currently working on translations of the Finnish Nobel Prize nominee, Eeva Kilpi.
Donald co-founded the Scottish arts and literature magazine Markings, and has had two pamphlet collections published (Clearer Water, and The Gift of Imperfect Lives). He has been a prizewinner in several poetry competitions. His poem ‘Fause Prophets’, which in 1999 won the Herald Millennium Poetry Competition, is buried in a time capsule under the walls of the Scottish Poetry Library. His new collection, From Coiled Roots, will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2013.
www.donaldadamson.blogspot.com

perjantai 30. marraskuuta 2012

Cinderella pantomime


Something just a little out of the ordinary: I´m going to play one of Cinderella´s step-sisters in the Tampere Finn-Brits´ Christmas panto production. If you´re within travelling distance of Tampere, try to get along to see the show. And remember to boo the horrible step-mother and shout out: `Oh yes, there is´ / `Oh no, there isn´t.´ The details are:

Teatteri Tapio, Pirkankatu 18

Thursday 13.12 at 19:00
Friday 14.12 at 19:00
Saturday 15.12 at 14:00 and 19:00

Tickets at the door 6€ each or 20€ for a group of 4.


This is a very sober-looking announcement. I´ll post a report and some photos after the event with a bit more colour.

maanantai 19. marraskuuta 2012

A poetry evening at the Finnish-British Society in Tampere



Reading with Martti Hynynen at the Finnish-British Society poetry evening in Tampere in November. Martti read from his collection, saari, nimetön luoto, and I read English translations of the same poems from the edition published by Cinnamon Press, island, nameless rock.



The solo part of the gig; me reading poems from my collection, Midas Touch, published by Ward Wood Publishing.


torstai 1. marraskuuta 2012

Poetry Reading in Tampere



I´m very happy to announce a poetry reading event in Tampere at which I will be reading alongside Martti Hynynen and Donald Adamson. The event will take place on Friday 9 November at 18.00 in the International Meeting Place at Suvantokatu 13 in Tampere (near the Russian Orthodox Church). The theme is `Finland and Translation´: Martti will read poems from `saari, nimetön luotto´ and I will read translations of his poems in English. Donald will be reading his English translations of Eeva Kilpi and Lassi Nummi, with the original Finnish, as well as some of his own poems. I will be reading poems from my collection, Midas Touch.

The event is hosted by the Finnish-British Society. There will be two 30 minute sets, with a break of about 15-20 minutes when refreshments will be available. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

sunnuntai 14. lokakuuta 2012

Hello France


I´ve noticed a sudden increase in hits from France to my blog. That´s nice. So I´ve decided to post a poem in honour of my French visitors. This is a fairly new one, which I plan to include in my next poetry collection and which will appear in Octopus, the new anthology to be published by Templar Poetry in November. This is a summery, beach poem, just right for these grey and rainy autumn days (grey and rainy in Finland, at least). Feel free to comment, if you wish.


Origins

Beneath the foundations, for me, of the word holiday
lies Swanage, my first remembered beach;
holiday´s Jurassic level, on which
all other resorts and cities worth a visit
rest. So waves rib the tidal sands
under Prague and Gstaad.

And behind the word beach, the chalk cliff
barrier of the northern headland rears up
like the humped back of some prehistoric beast.
Rollers gnawed at its base and crunched pebbles.
The deserted, desolate end of Swanage
drew my wandering steps as close as I dared go.

Back at the family base of towels and deckchairs,
I gazed past the high-tide line of dried out bladderwrack,
over wet sand and dazzle of sun rays
cast off the moving sea, to the distant cape,
remote as the li-lo I was never allowed
because it might carry me too far out.

torstai 13. syyskuuta 2012

Reading from The Finn´s Tale


I´m reading from my novel, The Finn´s Tale, in Helsinki on Friday, 14 September. The address is Fredrikinkatu 20 A, the reading starts at 19.00. I´m looking forward to meeting any of my blog readers who are in the area.

lauantai 1. syyskuuta 2012

On a Country Road in Finland



Here´s a new poem with a Finnish theme. It´s not deadly serious, as you will see.


On a Country Road in Finland

It was after turning at the Mihari junction
and heading for the main road from Hämeenkyrö
to Ylöjärvi that the most unlikely
police car in southern Finland pulled us up.

The beat-up Volvo I was driving
had all its lights working and its doors shut
thanks to Jukka´s firm hand on the off-side rear.
Still, we looked suspect, apparently.

One officer approached my open window.
His mate stood at a distance, arms akimbo.
I had a driving licence and showed it;
I knew the registration number and told it.

He relaxed a bit and directed his torch over
my shoulder. A bale of hay sat in the hollow
where the back seat used to be,
Jukka beside it on an upturned beer crate.

Jukka didn´t make eye contact. Good
body language. The beam flicked through
the scented air. We waited in silence. `Okay,´
said the one with the light, `on your way.´

sunnuntai 26. elokuuta 2012

Two events in the near future


I´m going to be at the London Poetry Book Fair on Saturday 8 September. The venue is the Candid Arts Trust in Torrens Street, Islington, London. The nearest tube station is Angel. If anyone is in the area and interested in visiting, look me up at the Ward Wood publisher´s table. I´ll give you a private reading of a couple of poems from my collection, Midas Touch. I expect to be in the hall from 11.00 until 13.00 at least and if I´m not actually at the table, I´ll be close by and not gone for long.

The poetry book fair looks like it´s going to be a great event. There are a lot of publishers exhibiting, both mainstream and small independent presses. There are readings all through the day and books for sale, of course, with signings by the poets present. There´s a very good website with full information at:

www.poetrybookfair.com


Then, on Friday 14 September at 18.00-19.00 I´m giving a talk and reading from my novel, The Finn´s Tale, to the Finnish-British Society in Helsinki. The venue address is: Fredrikinkatu 20 A in the centre of Helsinki. I believe that non-members are also welcome. Copies of both The Finn´s Tale and my poetry collection, Midas Touch, will be available to purchase.

I´d love to meet you at one (or both!) of these events.

tiistai 24. heinäkuuta 2012

Reading from The Finn´s Tale

Here´s a video of me reading a passage from my novel, The Finn´s Tale. The passage occurs a little after half way through the novel when Len, a 3rd generation Finnish-American who is visiting his Finnish relatives, and Päivi, his second cousin, go to pick chanterelles. The book´s cover picture alludes to this scene.



video



The Finn´s Tale is available online from:

www.bookdepository.co.uk

www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk

www.amazon.com / www.amazon.co.uk (also in Kindle version)

from selected branches of Akateeminen Kirjakauppa and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa and from Pocket Books in Helsinki railway station.

perjantai 20. heinäkuuta 2012

In Finnish

I´ve translated one of the poems from my collection, Midas Touch, into Finnish, with some help from Eevi Apponen (acknowledgement duly rendered). The poem is `Family´ from the prologue, `Two Poems From Finland´. This is what it looks like in Finnish:


Perhe

Rappu, puutarha
polku, pensas, ruohon
tuoksu sateen jälkeen,

pehmeä pip kun vettä
putoaa lehdille,

hohto autotallin
seinävalon ympärillä.

Ja tuolla
emo-janis
kahden poikasensa keskellä,

kuusi korvaa silhuettina
lampujen valaisemassa
asfaltissa.


... and this is how it sounds when read aloud by an Englishman with a poor accent. Still, non-Finnish visitors to my blog can at least get an idea of the Finnish version, I think. You can hear the same poem read in English on the video `Two Poems From Finland´ below; `Family´ is the second.

video

sunnuntai 15. heinäkuuta 2012

Readings of some poems from Midas Touch

I´ve uploaded two videos of me reading poems from my collection, Midas Touch. These poems are on YouTube as well. I plan to add some more poems in the future and also an excerpt from my novel, The Finn´s Tale.


Claire Clairmont and Allegra

Claire Clairmont was briefly the lover of the poet, Lord Byron and Allegra was their daughter. Allegra died at the age of five. Claire later lived with Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley. It is not known whether Claire and Percy were lovers but there is no doubt that she loved him. The shawl referred to in the poem was a gift from Percy to Claire. After Percy´s death Claire spent many years living in Russia and other countries.


video


Two Poems From Finland

The second video should interest blog readers in Finland as it includes the two poems from Finland that make up the prologue to Midas Touch, Winter Swans and Family.


video

I hope you enjoy listening to these poems. Do leave comments if you feel inclined.

tiistai 12. kesäkuuta 2012

Getting The Finn´s Tale into bookshops

Now that the academic year has ended and I´ve got a bit more time, I´ve been doing some marketing for The Finn´s Tale. I visited Helsinki yesterday and had meetings with the managers of three bookshops. I had already supplied copies to Tampere bookshops: Akateeminen Kirjakauppa and the two Suomalainen stores. All three of those shops have copies on their shelves as I write this. So I thought it was time to widen my market area. I´d contacted the managers of two Suomalainen Kirjakauppa stores in Helsinki to set up meetings for Tuesday and I visited the bookstore in the railway station on spec.

The managers were interested in the idea of a novel set in Finland which includes a lot of information about Finnish history, nature, art and culture, architecture and cooking in the course of telling a story. They were quite cautious about the prospects for sales, though. Of course, they know the business better than I do. I think that Finn´s who can read English quite well, of whom there are a great many, and foreign visitors to Finland who are looking for an interesting souvenir, would be likely to buy the book and that´s what I said. The conversation was positive and friendly and I felt that it was a good idea to make that personal contact, although I´m aware that I´m not much of a salesman. I felt that didn´t matter for the kind of approach I was making. The outcome was that one shop took 5 copies to try and the managers of the other two shops took just one copy each to have a closer look at before deciding whether to put copies on the shelf.

And when my business was completed I went to the wonderful Helene Schjerfbeck exhibition at Ateneum.

I returned home feeling reasonably pleased. So if you´re in Helsinki, you can buy a copy of The Finn´s Tale at the Pocket Books shop in the central railway station. And maybe from Suomalainen bookshops in Kamppi and Aleksanterinkatu later, if they decide to stock it.

And you should definitely get to the Schjerfbeck exhibition, too!





torstai 26. huhtikuuta 2012

Great discount on The Finn´s Tale at Book Depository

Book Depository have just offered an extra 10% discount to their usual big discounts for your book and others, which includes free international postage. They actually must run at a loss with this so it's well worth taking advantage! People need to put in the code APMA12 http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/search/advanced?searchSortBy=popularity&searchTerm&searchAddedTerm&searchTitle&searchAuthor&searchPublisher=ward+wood&searchIsbn&searchLang&searchSubmit=Search

Advanced book search at The Book Depository
www.bookdepository.com
You can get related books with free shipping worldwide from The Book Depository

keskiviikko 11. huhtikuuta 2012

Working on my new poetry collection

I spent part of the Easter weekend going through the poems I´ve written since putting together my last collection (Midas Touch, published by Ward Wood Publishing). My main objective was to do fine tuning to those poems that have had time to `settle´. I think that most poets find, as I do, that after the initial process of composition - which may take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks and involve only 3 or 4 drafts, or closer to 20 - after this process, it´s a good idea to leave the poem alone, forget about it, and then come back to it with fresh eyes and ears. In fact, I usually have several settling periods, followed by tinkering.

So that´s what I was doing over Easter. It also seemed like a good opportunity to take stock. How close am I to having my second collection ready? I spent some time considering each poem carefully, deciding firstly, if I felt it was up to standard and secondly, whether it fitted into the collection as a whole. It´s important to me that the poems in a collection work well together and that there is dialogue between the poems. I want a theme to be dealt with over several poems, allowing for more than one take or point of view. And I´m also very fond of having images and words that recur throughout a collection. In this new collection there are several poems in which stone and rock appear in various forms and several beach, seaside and ship poems. Some of the beach poems also contain pebbles and rocks. There´s an underlying theme of the relativity of perception.

So how many poems have I got ready? I reckon I have 33 that I would want to include in the new collection. That´s a bit over half, I should think. And that means probably about two-and-a-half years before the whole collection is ready. I don´t write very fast.

sunnuntai 25. maaliskuuta 2012

Nesting box in winter

An apostrophe of snow
tops the nesting box


sunnuntai 4. maaliskuuta 2012

Nancy Mattson: Finns and Amazons; Lines From Karelia

Two fascinting new publications about Finns and their history

I´ve just been reading two very interesting books, both published by Arrowhead Press: Finns and Amazons, a poetry collection by Nancy Mattson, and Lines From Karelia, which is actually a pamphlet containing mainly letters written by Nancy Mattson´s great-aunt from the Soviet Union before the outbreak of the Second World War. The two publications complement each other since one section of Finns and Amazons is based on, and includes excerpts from, the letters in Lines From Karelia, which in turn contains a few of the poems. Another section in Finns and Amazons is inspired by the work of women Russian painters and some of these speculate about a possible connection between the great-aunt as a child and one of the painters.

Some background is needed. Nancy Mattson is a Canadian Finn who now lives in London. Both Nancy´s grandmother, Anna, and Anna´s sister, Lisi, writer of the letters, emigrated from Finland to Canada in their youth. Anna settled in Canada, raised a family, her children had families of their own. Lisi left Canada with her husband, Eino Hirvonen, for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. Like thousands of other Finns, they believed in the socialist utopia that was being built in the Soviet Union at that time. The letters tell a part of the story of what happened to them.

I say, `a part of the story´ because Lisi Hirvonen does not fill in all the details of her life in the Soviet Union of the 30s. Perhaps she felt it wouldn´t have been safe, or she wanted to hide the truth, or she was just not the kind of writer who supplied details. Her writing style is also rather idiosyncratic: there is no punctuation in the original Finnish versions of the letters. The translator has preserved this feature in the English versions, wisely, I think. The reader doesn´t always know where one sentence ends and the next begins. Occasionally, one has to back-track a few words. But the sentences (if there were any!) and the general use of language, is fairly simple. It´s easy to follow the sense. And the effect of having no punctuation gives a terrific sense of momentum to her narrative and brings Lisi´s personality closer to the reader.

Perhaps, for me, and I imagine for many readers, the most poignant aspect of the letters is what Lisi doesn´t say. She and Eino obviously went with high hopes and great expectations. At some point they began to feel disappointment and betrayal. Lisi never says this outright, but the tone of the letters changes over the years. Lisi´s and Eino´s marriage also broke up. Again, Lisi doesn´t go into this in the letters that have survived. Alone and nearing 40, Lisi comments in her final letter that perhaps it might have been better if she hadn´t left Canada. It´s heart-breaking. And in nearly every letter she writes to her sister: `don´t worry about me´.

The last letter is dated 1939. After that, Anna didn´t receive another letter from her sister. Nobody knows what happened to her.

There is a fascinating extension to this true life story in the poems. In the first section Nancy Mattson speculates that the painter, Sonia Delaunay, might have painted Lisi as a child. And later, that a photo of a girl in a Soviet tourist guide, in whom Mattson sees a strong family resemblance, could just possibly be Lisi´s daughter.

Compelling reading. Anyone interested in Finland, Finnish culture and history, and the dramas of life will love these two slim volumes.

keskiviikko 8. helmikuuta 2012

The Finn´s Tale is in the shops again




Cover of The Finns Tale



Good news for readers in Finland: Akateeminen Kirjakauppa has re-stocked my novel, The Finn´s Tale. I don´t know what the situation had been in stores around Finland, but the Tampere branch had sold out several weeks ago. However, they now have new stock.

The book is also available online, direct from the publishers:
http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk/titles-fiction-mh-tft.htm

or from The Book Depository:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/

And don´t forget that you can read the opening two chapters (almost) from the Kindle version on Amazon.

lauantai 4. helmikuuta 2012

What are you working on now?

Like most writers, I imagine, that´s a question I often get asked. So I thought I´d give an update on work in progress here on my blog.

Firstly, I´m producing poems for my second collection... very slowly. I´ve tried to estimate the rate at which I produce poems that I want to keep, and possibly publish, and very approximately it works out at about 10 a year. However, I sometimes write three or four in as many weeks and then go months without writing one. It´s always been like that with me and I never let it bother me: the dreaded writer´s block. Right from when I started writing, I always had the attitude: I don´t have to do this. If the flow dries up, then I don´t write. I´m not sure how I´d feel if the dry period stretched to years rather than months, but I think my attitude probably wouldn´t change.

Now, though, there´s another element in the mix because the work that I´m producing now is also part of my doctorate in creative and critical writing. I need to have sufficient work to meet the requirements by the due date. The terminology makes it sound like accountancy rather than poetry. That was intentional, but I don´t like it much. When I did my MA I had enough ready poems to have submitted my final portfolio even if I hadn´t produced a single new poem. It took the pressure off and in the event I wrote a lot of new poems (at the usual rate, just about). I´m not in that position now, though. I´m trying not to think about it.

And then there´s the new novel, Arthur´s Eventful Weekend. It´s a rather quaint title, I think. One friend asked if it was a children´s book when I told him what it´s called and I can see that it has that kind of tone. It´s about a chap called Arthur, who is telling the story. Over the course of one weekend he goes over his whole life, remembering and taking stock of events and stages that he has passed through. Between those memories, the events of the weekend are unfolding. At the end we learn that something from his past has just resurfaced in his present life and this leads him into a momentous decision. One of the techniques I´ve used in the structure of the narrative is to take events, characters and themes from the Arthurian legends and transpose them into a modern setting and given them a realistic tone. That means they are radically altered from the magical world of the legends, but they are still recognisable.

I´ve just about completed the main part of the writing but I keep tinkering with it
and will probably continue to do so until it´s taken away from me!

maanantai 9. tammikuuta 2012

Presenting The Finn´s Tale in Tampere

I shall be giving a talk to the Tampere branch of the Finnish-British society on Friday 20 January at 19.00 at the Kansainvälinen Kohtauspaikka, Suvantokatu 13, Tampere. Everyone is welcome.

I´m going to talk about the process of writing my novel, The Finn´s Tale, describing some of the decisions I had to make about plot, characterisation and language, and also commenting a little on the publishing process. After that, I will go on to read a few short passages.

Any visitors to my blog who are in the Tampere area and interested in hearing about my writing are especially welcome. I´d love to meet you.

Copies of The Finn´s Tale will be available for purchase at the advantageous price of 9 euros. I will also bring along some copies of my poetry collection, Midas Touch, and the English translation of Martti Hynynen´s, island, nameless rock.

I´m looking forward to seeing you there.