Volume 2, No. 1, February 2015
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We are delighted with the response to our journal over the last year, and with the range of excellent contributions coming our way. This issue again shows how readily readers, students and scholars engage with the traditional and popular art of interview, often the very best way to learn more about writers and their craft. The writers can speak directly, without being subject to interpretation or theorising.
We are proud that this issue contains a mixture of writers old and new, established and not yet well-known. The writers featured here are from Canada, Australia, the UK and Bosnia; the chief forms used are novels and poetry although, as the interviews show, each field has infinite flexibility. The interviews, we hope, will prompt readers to try the work of these exciting voices.
Collectively, through the interviews, these writers share some very topical preoccupations; we also learn about the forms they use, who they write for and why they write. We hope you will enjoy reading them as much as we have.Nick Turner and Gillian Dooley, Editors
From Volume 4, no. 1, February 2017 Writers in Conversation will be published in Open Journal Systems and this website will no longer be updated.
ItemInterview with Robin Robertson, Random House, London, 10 January 2011( 2015-01-16)Robin Robertson has published five collections of poetry: A Painted Field, Slow Air, Swithering, The Wrecking Light and Hill of Doors, as well as Sailing the Forest: Selected Poems. Robertson (born 1955) was brought up on the north-east coast of Scotland. His poetry has received numerous awards, including the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and he is the first poet to have won all three categories of the Forward Prize. He lives in London. Katrina Naomi interviewed Robertson in the early stages of her PhD research at Goldsmiths (University of London). The title of her thesis is ‘Beyond Gentility: Violence in the Poetry of Sharon Olds, Pascale Petit, Peter Redgrove and Robin Robertson’.
ItemWrite from the Heart: An Interview with Brian Wrixon, a Poet from Canada( 2015-01-16)Brian Wrixon, a poet, was born in 1946 in Toronto, Canada. He graduated from Laurentian University in Canada with a degree in Classical Studies, and is a former faculty member, online curriculum design consultant and program coordinator at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. His working career in the financial services business spanned forty years. He has contributed his poems to numerous collections of poetry. Apart from this, as a poet, he has written Poetry in Motion Volumes 1 & 2 (2011), Confessions of a Would-Be Poet (2011), Heartbeats, Footsteps & Musings (2012), Doors (2013), Down to the Sea in Words (2013), The Moving Finger Writes (2013), Sculptured Words (2013), A tisket, a tasket, poems in a Basket (2013), It’s a Sign of the Times (2013), Nightmares & Dreams (with Rollie Mukherjee) (2013),Shoot From the Hip: Memories of a Small Town (2013), A Return Ticket: Memories of Leaving a Small Town (2013), My Passage to India (2014), A Look at Yesterday (with Robert Vincent) (2014), Our Town Revisited (with Robert Vincent) (2014) and Desperate Freedom: a Play in Four Acts (2014). Apart from composing a good number of poems, he has edited many anthologies of poems and operates as a publisher as well. In addition to writing and publishing numerous poetry and prose works of his own, he has been instrumental in assisting hundreds of young and emerging authors from around the world get published, either personally or as contributors to group anthologies.
ItemA Bosnian refugee who became a great story-teller: Adnan Mahmutovic on what drives him as a person and author( 2015-01-16)Adnan Mahmutovic is fast becoming a literary phenomenon across the Anglophonic world, courtesy a strong narrative voice that is unique and spotlights the human endurance in most extreme conditions, including war, ethnic cleansing and survival in new places as a refugee. His recent novel Thinner than a hair is in news; so is the collection of short fiction How to fare well and stay fair. Adnan has a PhD in English literature and an MFA in creative writing, and is currently a lecturer and writer-in-residence at the Department of English, Stockholm University. Fellow writer Sunil Sharma interviewed Adnan by email.
ItemVentriloquism Days: In Conversation with David Mathew( 2015-01-16)David Mathew is the author of three novels – O My Days, Creature Feature, and most recently Ventriloquists – and a volume of short stories entitled Paranoid Landscapes. His wide areas of interest include psychoanalysis, linguistics, distance learning, prisons and online anxiety. With approximately 600 published pieces to his name, including a novel based on his time working in the education department of a maximum security prison (O My Days), he has published widely in academic, journalistic and fiction outlets. In addition to his writing, he co-edits The Journal of Pedagogic Development (at the University of Bedfordshire, UK), teaches academic writing, and he particularly enjoys lecturing in foreign countries and learning about wine. He is a member of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists and Allied Professionals, Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe (EIPPEE), and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. He was also a member of The Health Technology Assessment programme (www.hta.ac.uk), as part of the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre at the University of Southampton (2009-2013). We met at his home in the south-east of England in November 2014 to discuss his approaches to writing and his new novel, Ventriloquists.
ItemInterview with Jim Crace( 2015-01-16)Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire in 1946 and is the author of 11 novels. This interview took place on 10 July 2013. Before becoming a novelist, he worked as a freelance journalist, and wrote educational plays and a number of short stories between 1968 and 1986. He has won numerous awards and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. His success began when his first book, Continent (1986), won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. His most recent novel, Harvest, won him the James Tait Black Prize for fiction. Crace also won a Windham Campbell literature prize in 2014 for his career in fiction writing. Among British contemporary novelists, Jim Crace has made a space for himself which is uniquely his. It is known as ‘Craceland’, a term which describes his gift for setting his novels in mythically oriented landscapes. Crace is not holding a mirror to our real world but rather he is inventing his continent from the real world’s dark corners, worlds of his own making. These worlds are as simple as his description of them, but approaching them will uncover how they conceal universal moral issues of nowhere and everywhere. His fiction is a product of a man who knows the facts; Crace describes his fiction as dealing ‘with big issues, big moral issues, rather than smaller domestic issues’. His inventions ask readers to respond to crucial universal issues rather than simple facts. His interest in natural history is obvious in his fiction, as his interest in walking and travelling inspires him to invent mythical worlds and communities. In this interview, Crace highlights inventions as the core of his fiction, but indicates that he starts with landscapes which he considers the basis for his unlimited re-shaping of his inventions. His Craceland is rendered in a multitude of forms but with the same key words and contents. Indeed, elements of themes, tropes and means of exploring them (archetypes, ambiguity and universal big issues) are present effectively in almost all of his novels. The prototype Craceland can be found in his debut, which marks the starting point for approaching Crace’s first form of mythification, Craceland.
ItemB.S. Johnson and Maureen Duffy: Aspiring Writers: A Conversation with Maureen Duffy( 2015-01-16)Maureen Duffy and B.S. Johnson met at King’s College London in 1956 when they both enrolled to read for a degree in English Literature. They became friends and colleagues through their contributions to Lucifer, the college literary magazine and the wider University of London poetry scene. They later joined forces in the Writer’s Action Group and campaigned for public lending rights for authors. Maureen kindly agreed to be interviewed about her relationship with Johnson, but in addition to this her interview sheds light on the socio-political context of British post-war writing. Maureen was born in 1933 in Worthing, Sussex and came to prominence in 1962 with the autobiographical novel That’s How It Was. Although mainly known for her poetry, her prose work has received critical and popular acclaim. Gor Saga (1981) was dramatised and broadcast by the BBC in 1988 as First Born, a three-part mini-series vehicle for Charles Dance. She is also the author of 16 plays for stage, television and radio. Maureen is well known as a humanist and gay rights activist and for her work championing the financial and legal interests of writers. She is currently the President of the Authors Licensing and Copyright Society, and a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. This interview took place in London in July 2013 and first appeared in the inaugural edition of B.S.J: The B. S. Johnson Journal.