Panel Beating #7 — The Cenotaph Project and the public sphere, in Belfast

Stuart Brisley, The Cenotaph Project, 1987-91, Installation (with Maya Balcioglu). Image: Maya Balcioglu.

Stuart Brisley, The Cenotaph Project, 1987-91, Installation (with Maya Balcioglu). Image: Maya Balcioglu.

On 26 March I will be in Belfast to take part in a panel discussion revisiting Stuart Brisley and Maya Balcioglu’s Cenotaph Project (1987-91). I will be speaking and reading alongside Brisley and Balcioglu, Dr Sanja Perovic of King’s College London, and Dr Colin Darke. A previous event on this theme was held at King’s in London as part of their Arts & Humanities Festival 2014. This time we are speaking at The MAC Live in Belfast, where Stuart Brisley is currently exhibiting. Here is the blurb for the MAC event:

The British painter, sculptor and performance artist Stuart Brisley is widely regarded as a key figure in British art. Along with his frequent collaborator, Maya Balcioglu, he has unflinchingly probed the political, cultural and social mores of his time in a career now spanning six decades.

The word ‘cenotaph’ literally means an ‘empty tomb’ (from the Greek ‘kenos’, empty and ‘taphos’, tomb). It both conceals remains that are lost or buried elsewhere and serves as a powerful signifier of military and state power. It thus raises questions about the relation between what is ‘above ground’, state-sanctioned, revealed and what remains underground, buried and concealed.

For this project the artists exhibited models of the Whitehall Cenotaph, scaled down to match the typical height of a council flat ceiling, in six locations across the UK. From a mute signifier of ‘official history’ the various, smaller cenotaphs opened a space for a critique of history and the possibility of change.

-1This event will include presentations from the artists Stuart Brisley and Maya Balcioglu, writer and academic Dr Sanja Perovic, and Belfast-based artist and writer Dr Colin Darke, followed by an open discussion amongst the speakers and audience.

The event will conclude with a reading by London-based author Tony White, of a satirical short story entitled The Holborn Cenotaph, written in response to Brisley and Balcioglu’s project, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

Additionally, I hear from the MAC that a new bookwork, Stuart Brisley – Performing the Political Body and Eating Shit, commissioned by the MAC on the occasion of the exhibition Stuart Brisley: Headwinds will also be launched during this evening. The author of this comprehensive text on Brisley’s performance practice, Michael Newman, will be in attendance.


The Cenotaph Project and the public sphere — Stuart Brisley, Maya Balcioglu, Dr Sanja Perovic, Dr Colin Darke and Tony White

19.30, Thursday 26 March 2015, The MAC Live, Belfast

Free but booking essential


Panel Beating #6 — Free Word presents Weather Stations: Climate Change – The Stories We Tell

I am looking forward to taking part in a panel discussion about climate change and literature with Mirko Bonné and Chris Rapley. The event is on 17 March at the Goethe-Institut, London and is organised by the Free Word Centre and the Goethe-Institut. Here is the blurb:

Assessing the current political temperature and social climate, Weather Stations is an international project that places literature and storytelling at the heart of conversations about climate change. As the debate around communicating the issue of climate science rages, and the imperative of alerting the world to the impact of our changing climate becomes even more urgent, Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at UCL, reminds us, ‘The whole point about climate change is that it is not really about the science. It is about the sort of world we want to live in and what kind of future we want to create.’

Shackleton’s Man Goes South, cover jpegHear Weather Stations Writer-in-Residence Mirko Bonné in discussion with Tony White, author and former writer-in-residence at the Science Museum, and Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University College London, previously Director of the Science Museum. The evening will be chaired by Jay Griffiths, the author of A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, and takes place at the Goethe-Institut.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015, 6.30pm doors open, 7pm Event starts
Goethe-Institut London
Admission free, booking essential
Registration: +44 20 75964000

Cover Gallery #2

This is a PDF of the cover layout that went to print for my 2013 Science Museum novel Shackleton’s Man Goes South. (The various ‘paste-up’ marks visible here don’t show in the finished print.) The front cover components had been discussed at length and comprise: the background colour gradient, Jake Tilson’s ‘melting’ Shackleton’s Man Goes South logotype, the Science Museum logo, my name, a clear message that this is a novel (an unusual proposition for a book published by the Science Museum), and Marina Warner’s advance quote. 12264 shakleton book aw new-1

The Museum designed this as a ‘cover kit’ rather than a single, fixed-format image. The idea was that these components could be adapted to different online situations, being easily reconfigured to generate cover images that would be compatible with letterbox, square and other default profile pic and thumbnail formats. The colour gradations, of course, suggest warming.


Download a free copy of Shackleton’s Man Goes South in formats compatible with all ebook readers

Press about Shackleton’s Man Goes South

An exhibition accompanying the Science Museum’s publication of Shackleton’s Man Goes South is on show in the Museum’s Atmosphere Gallery until at least 24 April 2015. Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

Read about publication of Shackleton’s Man Goes South on Publishing Perspectives

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Cover Gallery #1











The cover of Low Life Books’ paperback of Road Rage! featured Dave McCairley’s photograph of a fire artist. The picture had been taken in 1996, during a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall against evictions from ‘The Spikey Thing With Curves’, which was the name of a large squat in a former Salvation Army building and Methodist Hall opposite the Hackney Empire on Mare Street.


Find out more about Road Rage!

Buy a rare, mint condition copy of Road Rage! from my shop

Resonance 104.4fm fundraiser

resonance web logoThis week is the annual fundraiser for London’s arts community radio station, Resonance 104.4fm. The annual fundraiser is vital to keeping the station on the air.  Here is the message from the Resonance 104.4fm Fundraising Week page on Facebook:

Last year, we raised nearly £30,000 – which allowed us to replace our transmitter, complete a second studio, and cover the increased rent on our broadcast antenna. This year, our target is £50,000 and we want to trial a DAB service, entirely overhaul our website, and increase the range of our FM broadcast beyond central London. If every listener gave £1, we’d have secured this remarkable radio station’s future for the next decade. Resonance provides a radical alternative to mainstream broadcasting; it is a mainstay of and influential force within the global arts community; and it is an invaluable charitable resource which operates on a local, national and global level. If Resonance speaks to you, please support us by attending one of our events, bidding in our online auction, or making a donation of any size. Visit this fundraising site for all events and updates.

I love what Resonance 104.4fm do. I am honoured to chair the station’s board of directors and to support the station’s staff, programme makers and volunteers and the important work that they do. Last year I made an announcement about Resonance 104.4fm’s major commitment to books coverage, so here are just a few of the books-related items to be bid for in the fundraising auction:

A full set of The Folio Prize 2015 shortlist:

The Folio Prize 2015 shortlist 110:04 by Ben Lerner (Granta)

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews (Faber)

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (Granta)

Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Granta)

Family Life by Akhil Sharma (Faber)

How to Be Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín (Viking)

Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber)

the-folio-prize1(1)Rich and varied, with writers originating from North America, the UK, Ireland, Kenya and India, the shortlist comprises a wide range of international voices. Familiar prize-winning names – Ali Smith and Colm Tóibín – are joined by critically-acclaimed newer voices such as Ben Lerner and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. A number of these books are explicitly engaged with the process of writing itself, with each in its own way triumphantly affirming the unique role storytelling plays in making sense of our complex world. With thanks to The Folio Prize and FMcM.

Advance bound proofs from legendary science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz:

$_1Gollancz have generously donated a bound proof bundle of three of the best forthcoming science fiction and fantasy novels. They are:

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough. A heart-breaking, heart-stopping tale of love, live and death which will take your breath away.

Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley. One of our finest SF writers moves closer to home. London is devastated. New worlds are being explored. And the aliens have arrived…

Crashing Heaven by Al Robertson. Meet Hugo Fist, the most terrifying and enticing AI to grace SF since the works of Al Reynolds and Hannu Rajeniemi.

Henry Winkler’s Hank Zipzer: 5 book bundle from Walker Books:

-1Twelve-year-old Henry ‘Hank’ Zipzer is smart, resourceful, and he has dyslexia. When problems arise at school he deals with them in unconventional ways, putting him on a direct collision course with his teachers. But Hank always remains positive and convinced that the next big plan will deliver — after all, tomorrow is another day! The Hank Zipzer series draws upon Henry Winkler’s own experiences of growing up with dyslexia. It is now a popular television series with CBBC, and Henry Winkler stars as music teacher Mr Rock.

Generously donated by Walker Books Ltd.

Bundle of eight signed books from Out in South London:

$_57Goodbye to Soho and Dirty White Boy by Clayton Littlewood

London Calling and The Long Weekend by Clare Lydon

Mosaic of Air by Cherry Potts

Repercussions by Catherine Hall

Fairytales for Lost Children by Diriye Osman

I Am Nobody’s Nigger by Dean Atta

These eight signed books have been kindly donated by the team behind the Out In South London programme and contributors.


There is plenty more to bid for, too, from Abba Treasures to some beautiful Billy Childish prints, from a rare Liliane Lijn artists book from 1972, to singing lessons with a mezzo-soprano or a tape-loop workshop with Robin the Fog. There are some incredible theatre tickets from The Curtain Up Show, records, rarities, meals-for-two and much, much more besides.

Why not have a browse around. You might pick up a bargain, and you will certainly be helping to support innovative arts broadcasting at the same time.

Here is comedian Stewart Lee on why he loves Resonance 104.4fm.