Today, Tuesday 5 October 2021, is the 110th anniversary of the birth in 1911 of Brian O’Nolan, a.k.a. Myles na Gopaleen, best known as novelist Flann O’Brien. My new short story ‘Plain Speaking’ was written to commemorate the fact, and is now published by 3am Magazine. You can read it online here…
‘Plain Speaking’ was premiered as a live reading at the final Carthorse Orchestra, David Collard’s wonderful online salon, on 2 October 2021.
I’d love to perform ‘Plain Speaking’ again now, so if anyone is planning Flann-based festivities, or has any other ideas let me know.
With thanks to Shirley MacWilliam, the late John Carson, Anna Aslanyan, and Andrew Gallix of 3am.
Hi, and welcome to my website.
I’ve been posting regularly here about all aspects of the writing life, sharing information about live events, books and other publications, archival materials, etc. for a decade or more, so feel free to browse.
ICYMI, my latest novel The Fountain in the Forest is available in these two lovely paperback formats from publisher Faber & Faber, both featuring designer Luke Bird’s wonderful cover design:
You can use these links to buy direct from Faber, or order from your favourite local bookshop, or preferred ebook retailer!
I hope you enjoy The Fountain in the Forest, and would love to hear what you think, either here, on social media, or via reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. It may not seem it, but your reviews and posts really do make a difference, and help me spread the word about my books.
Thank you for dropping by.
Twenty-four years ago today, 28 August 1997, we had the launch party for my first novel Road Rage!, which was published by the legendary George Marshall on his Low Life Books imprint. The launch was at a great bookshop-come-bar called Tactical on D’Arblay Street in Soho, London W1. It was pretty rammed. At one point the police came, because there were so many people spilling out into D’Arblay Street. This was the invite – printed 3 per sheet of A4 and guillotined (to fit a DL-size envelope without folding, in theory anyway). These invites were sent by post in those mostly pre-email days, although I see that we used the ‘@’ symbol on the invite. Underground rave act The Knights of the Occasional Table played, and the novel was Book of the Month in i-D Magazine.
I can’t say what this diagram is for or what it represents without spoilers, of course. But it has taken five days of hard graft, pages of ‘notes to self’, and several such diagrams to make it work (the thing that this represents).
Reblogging this post from October 2014 for your enjoyment, with a couple of updates: a) the MixCloud link now repaired to archive audio of ‘Stormbringer’ performed live at Roshven, Scotland with musical accompaniment from Peter Lanceley, and b) to include a link to a subsequent republication of ‘Stormbringer’, in Jean-Marc Lofficier’s 2017 anthology Michael Moorcock’s Legends of the Multiverse (Black Coat Press).
By way of tribute to the late Jack Bruce, a special broadcast of Tony White’s short story first broadcast as part of Remote Performances in August 2014. ‘Stormbringer’ was inspired by talk of a period in Jack Bruce’s life when it seems he was entitled to be formally addressed as The Much Honoured Laird of Sanda. Voice: Tony White. Guitar: Peter Lanceley.
Tony White, explains:
In 1999 I had been invited to be part of an art project that was to take place on the remote Scottish island of Sanda, off the southern tip of the Mull of Kintyre. Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson of London Fieldworks had invited a group of artists…
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My new short story inspired by the life and work of the aeronautical engineer Sophie Robinson, specially commissioned for episode 3 of the groundbreaking new Inventive Podcast series, mixing engineering fact and fiction. Listen now at www.inventivepodcast.com
Episode 3 of the groundbreaking Inventive Podcast airs today, featuring Professor Trevor Cox’s in-depth interview with the brilliant aeronautical engineer Sophie Robinson, and my new short story inspired by Sophie’s life and work, ‘The Hotwells Cold Water Swimming Club’.
The Inventive Podcast series mixes engineering fact and fiction, and in my story I wanted to explore further some of the ethical dimensions of Sophie’s work – plus ideas around class and access to education – via the medium of wild swimming.
At one point I began thinking of the story as a kind of ‘prose portrait’, and I tried to use Sophie’s voice wherever I could, finding that incidental comments from the interview recordings and my notes – e.g. ‘Go on, ask me that question again.’ – might provide me with the actual narrative building blocks of my story. But I was also mindful that a story always needs to assert its own logic, and I remembered what the poet Louis Aragon says in the preface to Vol. 1 of his great Henri Mattisse: a Novel about the moment when a written portrait begins to diverge into fiction:
to justify the liberty taken with my subject, my own variations, the sort of detachment I aimed at . . . Just as a painter, having started a portrait, finds his hand running away with him and . . . eventually changes from a photographer into a novelist.Aragon, Henri Matisse: a novel, Volume I, p.16
You will notice that the fictional engineer in my story is called Fiona/Fi rather than Sophie/Soph, but I hope I have done the real Sophie proud nonetheless!
It was a great privilege to talk to Sophie and to write a piece of fiction inspired by Trevor’s interview and our subsequent conversations, so I really hope you enjoy the episode.
Here’s the blurb:
In the third episode of Inventive Podcast, Trevor meets aerospace engineer Sophie Robinson. Sophie works on groundbreaking eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft that will change the way we travel in the future. Writer Tony White’s inspirational story ‘The Hotwells Cold Water Swimming Club’ captures perfectly what Sophie gets up to in her spare time – she’s a self-confessed mermaid! – and the ethical dilemmas she has faced at work.
We’d love to hear what you think
A beautifully performed extract from my specially commissioned new short story ‘The Hotwells Cold Water Swimming Club’, inspired by the life and work of aeronautical engineer Sophie Robinson, formed part of a great Edinburgh Science Festival event for the Inventive Podcast series yesterday. The online event is now up on YouTube and on the Festival site.
I was really hoping for a strong northern female voice to read the story, so I’m super pleased with the casting by Inventive’s production company Overtone! See what you think (the extract starts around 13:42, but the whole event is really worth a watch).
My story premieres in full next week as part of Sophie Robinson’s and my episode which airs on 7 July.
They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it, a marathon reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans instigated and organised by Anna Barham and Irene Revell, and which I participated in over the past year or so, will be broadcast in its entirety for 52 hours starting Friday 25 June at 6pm, as part of Town Hall Meeting of the Air, an exhibition and public programme conceived by Kate Liston & Tess Denman-Cleaver that thinks about the poetics of civic gathering. Town Hall Meeting of the Air is at Baltic39, Newcastle upon Tyne until 2 August 2021.
Here’s more info from Anna Barham on Instagram:
In January 2020 @i_a_revell and I organised a year long collective reading of #TheMakingofAmericans We met in person for the first 3 sessions and then hosted 20 more online. Listen to all the sessions stitched together in a marathon broadcast from 6pm Friday @townhallmeetingoftheair an exhibition and radio station conceived by @listonkate and @tessd_c (who’re both among the readers) throughout the weekend on townhallonair.com@banana_harm on Instagram
Listen at http://www.townhallonair.com/ from 6pm Friday 25 June 2021