(Foxy-T).S. Eliot

photo(5)Thanks to Sarah for this great photo taken during an interesting chat that I was privileged to have been a part of at Turner Contemporary, Margate on Saturday. Following my reading of ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ earlier in the day, I took part in this conversation with Iain Sinclair and Simon Smith, in which we traced literary routes between Cannon Street Road, London E1, and Margate sands—via ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’, and the chronicler of the Kentish underground David Seabrook. This was all part of the Venice Agendas 15 event at Turner Contemporary that was put on in partnership with Work in Progress and the Waugh Office. A great day.

The next outing for satirical short ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ is as part of A Beast in View: an evening of satire in poetry and prose on Saturday 5 December at The Room, London. I will be reading alongside some great writers, namely Courttia Newland, Holly Hopkins and The Room’s host Anthony Howell. It should be a good one. Do come along if you fancy ;)


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At the Science Museum, new video

If you didn’t get a chance to see the exhibition at the Science Museum that accompanied their publication of my climate change novel Shackleton’s Man Goes South—and which closed in April 2015 after an amazing two-year run—here’s a short video doc in which I talk about some of the background to the novel and demonstrate the unique touchscreen ebook dispenser that we developed especially for the project.


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‘High-Lands’ was a short story commissioned for radio, and broadcast live—with soundscape accompaniment by Johny Brown of Band of Holy Joy—from the Outlandia tree house in Glen Nevis in Scotland as part of the Remote Performances project by London Fieldworks and Resonance 104.4FM. The story has now been published in Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (edited by Bruce Gilchrist, Jo Joelson and Tracey Warr) published by Ashgate.

Signing up to my free invite and mailing list means that you will hear about special projects like this in advance and get invites to gigs and book launches around the country ;)


More events listings, plus a word about bookings

New and a Q: Video page

A new page on this website gathers video of various live appearances/readings and the short docs made about particular books and projects such as Missorts, Dicky Star and the Garden Rule, Shackleton’s Man Goes South​, etc. There’s more to come, including a short video doc of the Shackleton’s Man Goes South exhibition at the Science Museum, which ran for two years from April 2013 to April 2015.

These may be books you haven’t read yet, projects you haven’t seen, but as ever I’d love to hear what friends think ;)

So to my question:

Q. which kinds of book/author videos do you prefer, and which do you think give you a better flavour, the live videos or the short documentaries? I’m interested because these are increasingly—with book trailers of course—part of how we all work these days.


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‘Small publishers …’

Michael Caines has written a nice post for the TLS blog about Joanna Walsh’s “Shklovsky’s Zoo” and Piece of Paper Press—as well as some other artists’ book miniatures:

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 08.36.59Take a piece of A4 paper. Fold it in half (reducing it to A5 size), then twice more (A6; A7). A little more unfolding and refolding, interrupted by one snip of the scissors, and there you have it – a booklet of eight pages. Stitch it and trim the edges. Now all you have to do is cover it with suitable words and pictures … I read the A7-sized Shklovsky’s Zoo by Joanna Walsh (published earlier this year by Tony White’s deliberately lo-fi and generous-spirited Piece of Paper Press) as a complimentary complement: it’s not about reading the book itself but trying to get hold of a copy, as well as a writing residency, Kafka, the narrator coming adrift (a relationship has ended, and the fellow writing residents aren’t exactly her cup of tea). Or it’s about those things and it’s not … That seems like plenty to find tucked away in a few pages made from a single sheet of paper.

Launch of “Shklovsky’s Zoo” at bookartbookshop, London, July 2015

Launch of “Shklovsky’s Zoo” at bookartbookshop, London, July 2015


Read Michael Caines’, ‘Small Publishers, Smaller Books’, on the TLS Blog

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Live literature

inyerear_coverphotocropThe latest reading of my satirical short story ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ was at In Yer Ear #15, 27 October 2015 (photo: Peter Clark), with more readings to come in London and beyond.

The reading at In Yer Ear coincided with Death in Police Custody Awareness Week, 26-31 October 2015.


-1‘Jaw-dropping’ — Twitter reviews of ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’

Tony White events listings

A word about bookings

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Petrol heads

I promised to post the English translation (or the English original) of my recent interview for Russian car magazine Ключавто once the magazine was out. Here is the digital version of the magazine. For non-Russian-speakers, the standfirst reads:

Our interlocutor was the British writer, whose books combine furious drive and avant garde format, and are apt to hit society’s pressure points. We asked Mr. White a few car-related questions—how serious or not…

Here is the interview in English:

12178126_10205080543153947_1550960864_nКлючавто: Can you compare writing with driving? If yes, then what type of road do you drive during writing—mountainous serpentine, racing oval, medieval town labyrinth or something else?

[I don’t really know because I can’t drive, but] ideally I start writing very early every morning. I wake up, make coffee and get going. It is peaceful and there are no distractions, the phone doesn’t ring. I like that time of day. I can get a whole day’s work done by 10am. One thing I can compare this with is that when I used to work nights at the Post Office in the mid-1990s—before my first novel Road Rage! was published—I used to enjoy cycling home through the deserted city at 5am, just as the sun was coming up. It was beautiful. The London streets were empty and there was nobody around except a few other night workers. Maybe these are similar feelings.

Ключавто: The main villain in Road Rage! is the road construction company. Do you remember the moment when it becomes clear in the novel that these companies are trying to pave their highways directly over sacred Celtic sites? Is that practice actually popular in Britain?

Buy Road Rage from the Piece of Paper Press shop using my verified PayPal accountRoad Rage! is a novel about anti-road protesters in the East London of the 1990s, and the plan in the novel to build roads over ancient sacred sites was pure fiction, at least that is what I thought at the time. But actually, right now in the UK there is a genuine government plan to build a road tunnel under Stonehenge, one of the most famous and iconic neolithic sacred sites in the world. The rather simplistic thinking I suppose is that this tunnel will protect the site or restore some lost visual aspect; a landscape without cars. It is also rationalized by saying that the scheme is designed to enhance road safety because the stones are a distraction to drivers! However there is no telling what damage will be done to the site during the construction process itself and furthermore they will be driving this tunnel through as yet unexplored archeological remains. If this happens it will all be done no doubt in the typical hypocritical style, using words like ‘safeguard’ and ‘preserve’ while happily smashing everything.

Ключавто: Ecology is an important theme in your prose. Do you think the automotive industry is genuinely making steps towards greener products, or do they just pretend?

Shackleton’s Man Goes South, square thumbnailThree of my books have [broadly] ecological themes: first Road Rage!, then my Chernobyl novella Dicky Star and the Garden Rule, and my most recent novel Shackleton’s Man Goes South, which is a satirical novel about climate change, published by the Science Museum here in London. Researching the novel I interviewed many scientists working at the cutting edge of climate change research. These were scary conversations. Many scientists will tell you that however bad the official forecasts of catastrophic climate change might be, the current consensus is underestimative. Things may get far worse far more quickly, and the ambition of staying under 2º of average warming may not even be possible. Some so-called greener products such as bio-fuels seem to cause more ecological damage than they prevent, as well as contributing to water stress and higher food prices. There are a few electric cars, which is a start, I suppose, but as far as I can see, those entities who are most invested in the extraction of fossil fuels and the burning of carbon are doing everything they can to carry on with business as usual for as long as possible.

Photo: Dickbauch (public domain)

Photo: Dickbauch (public domain)

Ключавто: For a long time we are looking for someone who has personally overcome one of the world’s craziest crossroads – “The Magic Roundabout” in Swindon. Have you been there? And don’t you think that its shape (five smaller roundabouts bound into a big pentagram) looks really sick?

In ancient Greek mythology Charon was the ferryman of Hades whom you paid to carry your soul across the river Styx from the land of the living to the land of the dead. Learning from this, when I went to Swindon I took a taxi.

Buy Foxy-T from the Book DepositoryКлючавто: In your novel Foxy-T there is an extended and extremely detailed (and correct, they say) description of some path through London’s East End. Did any rally teams offer you a navigator contract after the publication of this book?

Sadly no, but many people tell me that they really love the book, so that is a small consolation.

Ключавто: As we can see in the novels Charlieunclenorfolktango and Foxy-T, you are a great master of phonetic script that brilliantly shows different accents. Let us imagine, that cars have learned human speech. How will their accent sound? And what will they chatter about?

Thank you, but I would prefer to leave that kind of anthropomorphic crap to Disney or Pixar. I am more interested in people. Although actually, now you mention it, I did write a short story once about a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS silver two-door coupe. Okay, it wasn’t a talking car, but it was my father’s car. After he died we needed to sell it, American-Legendbut there were no takers for many weeks. It was in great condition, low-mileage, but months went by and no one wanted to buy this car. So I wrote a story that was in part perhaps an act of sympathetic magic. I wondered whether if I wrote about people buying the car in a story I might help to conjure those people into being in the real world. I also wanted to create some kind of mythology and romance around what was in fact quite a bland looking US sports car. In my story—‘How we made “An American Legend” part 1’—some Serbian-American petrol heads in San Diego are desperately looking for a Chevy Monte Carlo to customize. Anyway, I don’t know if my short story helped at all, but we did sell the car.


Download the free epub of the 2009 short story ‘How we made “An American Legend” part 1’ direct from the artistsebooks site

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