Tag Archives: writing

My Writing Journey

Literary Tip

Linking words help you to connect ideas and sentences, so that people can follow your ideas.

The most common way to give examples is by using:  ‘for example’ or ‘for instance’

Adding information

And, In addition, As well as, Also, Too, Furthermore, Moreover, Apart from, In addition to, Besides

Setting the Scene

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn . . .

The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it: it was narrow and unkempt, not the drive that we had known . . .

Chapter 1 of Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.

This famous opening sets the scene immediately, it is disturbing, and starts to tell the story.  The reader can only wonder and turn the page. The storyline of this novel is bound up with the geographical setting of Cornwall, I can’t imagine it set in any other place. But the setting is there to serve the story. A story filled with dull people and a boring plot cannot be redeemed by an evocative setting.

Thanks for your emails, I hope to answer all of them eventually!

Good writing, Elise

 

 

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My Writing Journey

This week was strange. My writing didn’t flow earlier in the week. I was ready to leave the computer, walk to the top of a mountain and stay there. Somehow though the tangle of a chapter set in New Guinea in World War Two suddenly came to life. I am writing slowly what is for me a difficult chapter to write:  war from a male perspective, it’s not easy.  I guess writing never is. I lose myself in books and that is what I want my reader to do with my  writing. I don’t usually share my WIP but this morning it came to me that I should.

It was still dark. She rose and went to the sash window and listened to the wind blowing behind the cracked glass. She’d not noticed the pane needed replacing when they moved in and now the landlord was away at the Front she couldn’t ask him to replace it. She opened the window carefully, the sharp night air flowed into the room. It was very still outside, and rather lovely, the full moon cast stripes of light across the pavement, power poles merged with the shadows. Across the street, a light switched on suddenly, followed by the sound of a dog barking. Mr Bacon emerged a few minutes later and rode off on his bicycle, speeding around the corner onto Royal Avenue, late for his job in the city fruit markets. Rose turned away and returned to the comfort of her feather mattress and pillow. It was cold even for July. She shivered and pulled the woolen blanket up round her chin. Sleepily she started to think about Dave, hoped he’d be home by the New Year. She would not think of Robert, she told herself. She closed her eyes. Halfway between wakefulness and sleep she rolled over, reached out and ran her fingers along the gilt edges of the Rossetti on her bedside table—all was right with the world—at least for tonight.

My novel is set in wartime Brisbane and Sydney and one chapter is set in Northern California. I particularly enjoyed researching the American chapter because the action takes place in a silvered wooden cabin near a river surrounded by pine forest. I hope my finished novel has a touch of magic about it.

On research

I wrote recently about research. I went to Brisbane with the intention of walking the city streets to get a feel of the city as it might have been in wartime. I saw the buildings and I walked the streets but found it hard to capture the past. I realise now it was because the city had changed so much in the last seventy years. I also did some research further away from the city.   I walked with a friend to a place that embodied the past; it was all around me. This was a more rewarding experience. I found I could put myself in my protagonists place, enter the world as it was then, live the life, know thoughts and feelings. Know truth.  I picked up a few pebbles and dust  from a grave, they now sit on a small enamelled dish from Hydra on my writing desk. The siren song of another story is calling.

Have a good writing week, Elise x

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Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company

May 2014
Events at a Glance
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library: Bill Johnston Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour Paris: Launch Party
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Thirza Vallois Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Katy Masuga & Mary Duncan
Friday 9th May 7pm
The Art of Criticism: Brian Dillon Monday 12th May 7pm
Ned Beauman on Glow
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate Stables Thursday 15th May 7pm
John Berger on Cataract
Monday 19th May 7pm
Lisa Appignanesi on Paris Requiem Thursday 22nd May 6pm
Bard-en-Seine Reading:
As You Like It
A very happy new month to you all! We’re having a very vibrant spring-time so far here in Paris, out on the bright, blossomy streets and inside our bustling rabbit warren of a bookshop. We ended April in a very festive mood with a raucous adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet, performed in the bookshop (front row audience members were very much caught up in the action!) by a stellar cast of Tumbleweeds and volunteers past and present. It was the perfect way to celebrate 450 years of the bard to the very date, and really put us in the mood for our next Shakespearean extravaganza… Watch this space for details about our Bard-en-Seine festival (23rd-27th July), whose show-stopper centre-piece will be a five night run of Macbeth, directed by Cressida Brown, and performed en plein air in the beautiful little park next to the bookshop.
But that’s getting ahead…there’s lots to anticipate in May, too. Roll up, roll up, Henry Miller aficionados! For the first week of the month, The Henry Miller Library gang are in town, all the way from sunny Big Sur, California, for their Aller Retour Paris Festival. They’ll be headquartered at Shakespeare and Company and we’ll be hosting a few special Henry Miller-themed events, but they’re getting out and about all over Paris, as well, so check out the full line-up here.
We’re also very, very excited about fiction readings with Ned Beauman and Lisa Appignanesi, and thrilled beyond belief to announce an event with John Berger, one of the most internationally influential writers and thinkers of the last fifty years.
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) Shakespeare and Company in the 60s
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) The cast of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet takes a bow
May Events

Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings and discussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library presents…

The mindful translator: Toward a praxis of literary translation

Practising literary translators have long been at odds with translation theory. At best, such theory fails to capture the complexity of literary translation; at worst, it seriously misrepresents the processes and products of translation, both simplifying and distorting to the point where translators no longer recognize their part in the endeavor. Part of the problem lies in a misconception of what theory is for—there is a widespread assumption among translators and the general public that theory precedes practice, and is intended to be “applied”. Another approach, though, is possible—to theorize practice, as one finds, for example, in the work of Donald Schön and others. This talk, by an experienced practising translator, will consider the possible uses of theory for the practice of literary translation. Bill Johnston has translated about thirty books from the Polish, including both poetry and prose. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; his prizes include the inaugural Found in Translation Award for Tadeusz Różewicz’s new poems (2008) and the AATSEEL Translation Prize for Magdalena Tulli’s Dreams and Stones (2004), both published by Archipelago Books. In 2012 his translation of Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books, 2010) won the PEN Translation Prize, the Best Translated Book Award, and the AATSEEL Translation Prize. He is currently a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and is working on a new translation of the Polish national epic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz (1798 – 1855). He teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University.
Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour—The Henry Miller Library Goes to Paris!

Join us at Shakespeare and Company for the Aller Retour Paris opening night party, hosted by Ping-Pong, the official literary magazine of the Henry Miller Library (all the way from Big Sur, California)! Expect poetry, wine, music by Al Rose, and Henry Miller-inspired revelry all round! Speakers include New York City’s J Hope Stein, Paris-based artist Jean-Noël Chazelle, and editor Maria Garcia Teutsch.

Maria Garcia Teutsch will be reading from the new bilingual (French and English) edition of Pussy, as well as from her new manuscript, Whore-son, poems written in response to the underlined sections of Jean Genet’s The Balcony. She has been, or will be, published in: Otoliths, The South Carolina Review, Prairie Schooner, The Lullwater Review, The Cold Mountain Review, The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Sierra Nevada Review, Women’s Arts Quarterly, and Whole Beast Rag.

J Hope Stein is the author of the chapbooks: Talking Doll (Dancing Girl Press), Mary (Hyacinth Girl Press), and Corner Office (H_ngm_n). Her poems are published or forthcoming in Verse, HTML Giant, Tarpaulin Sky, Everyday Genius, Ping-Pong, Talisman, and Poetry International. She is also the editor of poetrycrush.com and the author of poetry/humour site eecattings.com.

Jean-Noël Chazelle is a Paris-based painter who will read French poems published in Ping-Pong, including the works of Jean Arp and Guy Jean, as well as some of his own work.
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: Thirza Vallois

Join us for a talk in the library—followed by an optional literary stroll around the City of Lights—with Thirza Vallois, whose “Around and About” Paris books have been universally acclaimed as the best travel books ever written on the city. The talk will run from 4-5pm, followed by the walk, which should wrap up around 7.30pm.

To learn more about Thirza and her books, visit http://www.thirzavallois.com
Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: How Henry Miller Can Change Your Life (Again)

We all know why we love Henry Miller (or even hate him), but do we know the real reasons why we should love him? Join us for an insightful discussion with Dr. Katy Masuga, author of The Secret Violence of Henry Miller (2011) and Henry Miller and How He Got That Way (2011), and Mary Duncan, Director of the Paris Writers Group and author of Henry Miller is Under My Bed: People and Place on the Way to Paris (2008).
Friday 9th May 7pm
For the next installment of The Art of Criticism series, we are delighted to welcome Brian Dillon, to discuss reviewing books, writing essays, eclectic interests, and tackling literary theory. We will be discussing his new collection of essays, Objects in this Mirror (Sternberg Press), of which Wayne Koestenbaum has written, “Like Roland Barthes and Virginia Woolf, Brian Dillon pays lavish attention to curious byways that usually go without saying. In sentences at once playful and majestic, he plumbs the intellectual depths of his subjects, and reveals a perverse, nearly dandyish love for odd facts and iconoclastic vistas. There is more than a touch of W. G. Sebald—the Wordsworthian wanderer, the romantic itinerant—in Dillon’s melancholy yet mood-spiked attitude toward the material objects that greet his sober, ever-evaluating eye. Reading Objects in This Mirror, we participate in Dillon’s restless perambulations, and we are delighted to be thus transported.” Brian Dillon is a writer and critic based in Canterbury. His books include Objects in This Mirror: Essays (Sternberg Press, 2014), I Am Sitting in a Room (Cabinet, 2012), Sanctuary (Sternberg Press, 2011), Ruins (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2011), Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin, 2009), and In the Dark Room (Penguin 2005). His writing appears regularly in the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and frieze. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art. Dillon is curator of Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing — a Hayward Touring exhibition which is at De Appel, Amsterdam, 27 June -14 September 2014 — and Ruin Lust, at Tate Britain from 4 March -18 May 2014. He is working on a book about the Great Explosion at Faversham, Kent, in 1916.

Hilary Mantel reviews Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives in the LRB
Monday 12th May 7pm
“A singular, and almost recklessly gifted, young writer” — Time

We’re hugely excited about hearing Ned Beauman speak about his dazzling new novel, Glow.

A hostage exchange outside a police station in Pakistan. A botched defection in an airport hotel in New Jersey. A test of loyalty at an abandoned resort in the Burmese jungle. A boy and a girl locking eyes at a rave in a South London laundrette… For the first time, one of Britain’s hottest young novelists turns his attention to the present day, as a conspiracy with global repercussions converges on one small flat above a dentist’s office in Camberwell.

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 in London. His debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction. His second novel, The Teleportation Accident, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. He has been chosen by the Culture Show as one of the twelve best new British novelists and by Granta as one of the 20 best British novelists under 40. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. Ned was also one of the judges for the Paris Literary Prize 2013.

Ned Beauman has a cool and interesting website here.
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour—music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event has become an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated. Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!
Thursday 15th May 7pm
We’re thrilled to announce that the magnificent John Berger will be joining us to discuss Cataract, one of his latest titles, and resonant themes in his work as a whole.

John Berger is a storyteller, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, dramatist, and critic, whose body of work embodies his concern for, in Geoff Dyer’s words, “the enduring mystery of great art and the lived experience of the oppressed”. He is one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years, who has explored the relationships between the individual and society, culture and politics, and experience and expression in a series of novels, bookworks, essays, plays, films, photographic collaborations, and performances, unmatched in their diversity, ambition, and reach. His television series and book Ways of Seeing revolutionised the way that Fine Art is read and understood, while his engagement with European peasantry and migration in the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours and A Seventh Man stand as models of empathy and insight. Central to Berger’s creative identity is the idea of collaboration, with people, places, and communities as much as with other writers and thinkers. Democratic and open exchange is embedded into his project, and among those artists with whom he has worked are some of the most imaginative in their fields—theatre director Simon McBurney of Complicite, the late artist Juan Munoz, photographer Jean Mohr, composer Gavin Bryars, and film-makers Mike Dibb, Alain Tanner, and Timothy Neat.

In Cataract, John Berger works in collaboration with acclaimed Turkish illustrator Selçuk Demirel. In this book-length essay, published by the brilliant Notting Hill Editions (and Le Temps des Cerises in France), John Berger explores what happens when cataracts rob an art critic of his sight, and reflects upon his own experience of loss of vision.

John Berger: A Life in Writing

John Berger in conversation with Michael Ondaatje
Monday 19th May 7pm
We’re delighted to announce an evening with Lisa Appignanesi, who will, appropriately, be discussing her latest novel, Paris Requiem.

Paris, 1899. Capital of the crime passionel. Paris is electric with excitement. Everywhere preparations are underway for the universal exhibition and the new century—an age of speed and modernity. But the sensuous spectacle of the belle époque is shadowed by racial and social tensions. Street demos are rampant. Anti-Semites vie with the defenders of justice and the rights of man. Scientists propose hereditary explanations for the rise and rise of murder, madness, and nervous disorders. The police force is embattled, exposed in a scandal-mongering press. In the midst of all this, the body of a beautiful woman is found in the Seine. She is the performer Olympe Fabre. She is also Rachel Arnhem, a young Jewish woman, whom gossip, back in Boston, has linked to one of its favourite prodigals, Rafael Norton. James Norton, his elder brother, is charged with the task of bringing Raf and their high-spirited, though ailing, sister, Ellie, home from the hotbed of vice and murderous entanglements. It is a mission he confronts reluctantly. He and Paris have a history—not altogether unlinked to the turbulent present that now confronts him.

Lisa Appignanesi OBE is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster, and cultural commentator. She is past president of English PEN, served as deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and is chair of the Freud Museum. She appears regularly on Radio 3’s Night Waves and Radio 4’s Saturday Review. Her many books include Trials of Passion, Losing the Dead, Mad, Bad and Sad, All About Love, and The Memory Man. She lives in North London.

Discover Lisa Appignanesi’s top ten books about Paris
Thursday 22nd May 6pm
The Bard-en-Seine Readings

Throughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter.

For May, the play will be As You Like It and the reading will take place on Thursday 22nd at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.
Special Recommendation if You Live in Paris
Le Panier d’Alexandre

We love getting our weekly fruit and vegetables directly from the source: Alexandre. Alexandre grows his produces in the Oise region and delivers weekly to Paris — usually on his bicycle. He delivers to your door and it costs 20 euros for a full bag of delicious home-grown goodies which you can be sure haven’t been drowned in pesticides! For more information, check out his website.
Podcasts from Last Month’s Events
John Baxter on Paris at the End of the World The Art of Criticism: Lila Azam Zanganeh
The Original of Lolita: Celebrating Nabokov’s Birthday in Paris The Best Translated Book Award 2014: Announcement and Celebration (feat. Amélie Nothomb)
450 Years of Shakespeare: A Celebration
Staff and Tumbleweed Picks
The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
This is an extraordinary, heart-breaking novel. Beautifully written, it is the perfect companion to On Canaan’s Side. Barry’s prose has a cadence that quietly gathers until it becomes visceral. His project is of retrieval; for him, novels are the true afterlife and The Temporary Gentleman is a work of magic. — Sarah
The Black Count by Tom Reiss
Superman, Batman, Thor… These guys would have been no match for General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose military and life achievements certainly surpass all his contemporaries. Son of a Haitian slave and a renegade French nobleman, the father of Alexandre Dumas was the inspiration for the Count of Monte Cristo. Indeed, much as Edmond Dantès was betrayed by his friends, Thomas-Alexandre was sent to exile by a jealous Napoleon Bonaparte who could not stand to ride in the shadow of his formidable black General. Written in the style of Dumas, this hectic biography is also a clever and well-documented description of France at the end of the 18th century. No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. — Alex G
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Sit up, read this, and be surprised. This novel throws you into the mind of a young woman and her relationship with her family. It is outstanding. The energy, the detail, and the originality of the prose are unforgettable. I haven’t felt this affected by a novel for a long time. — Sylvia
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
I’ve always been drawn to the dirty side of Paris… Here Orwell writes about the bedbugs so we can enjoy the history without enduring the bites! — Octavia
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
A haunting book about Ruthie and her family before her. Sentence for sentence, beauty can be found. This is a short, sweet novel about growing up in the wonderfully depicted town of Fingerbone. It is a novel full of light (or lack thereof) and a whole bunch of weather that twists and turns like a bad night’s sleep. If you want to know how to write a perfectly crafted little book, well, then you can’t go wrong with Housekeeping. — Thos
Antiquarian Picks
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
First US edition / first hardback edition
New York: Grove Press, 1962
650€
First published in paperback by Olympia Press in Paris in 1959 as The Naked Lunch, William Burroughs’s stupefying satire on addiction, what he described as the “algebra of need”, was banned from US publication by obscenity laws. The book was finally published by Grove Press in 1962, retitled Naked Lunch to match Burroughs’s original intentions, and with substantial changes that brought the text closer to a 1958 manuscript held by Allen Ginsberg. Fine in near fine dust jacket, this first US edition appears unread. A stunning copy.
The Journals of Anaïs Nin
First editions of volumes 1-3 sold as a set
Inscribed by the author
London: Peter Owen, 1966-1970
650€
In her legendary journals, published in seven volumes, Anaïs Nin excavates her own mind to create an intensely candid journey through the years 1931 to 1974. They are where she deciphers or perhaps dreams all those things that make up her complicated myth: sexual freedom, bigamy, psychoanalysis, colossal lies, erotica, feminism, her relationship with Henry Miller in Paris. These first three volumes, taking us from 1931-1934, 1934-1939, and 1939-1944, are inscribed by Nin to the editor Beatrice Musgrave at her publishing house Peter Owen. An extremely special set in very good condition, signed “with friendship”.
Further Literary Tidbits
Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality Matt Haig on Reading and Writing Against Depression
The Wizard of Oz Re-Imagined by Lisbeth Zwerger Paris People on Their Favourite Books about Paris (including tips from our own Sylvia Whitman)
New York Times obituary for Gabriel García Márquez ‘Having a Coke With You’ Illustrated by Nathan Gelgud
Seven Shakespearean Phrases and Concepts that Changed Western Culture On the Re-launch of Pelican Books
Charles Simic on The Great Poets’ Brawl of ‘68 The Art of Independent Publishing
The Last Words
“Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.”
— As You Like It
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
– Iris Murdoch

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Anais Nin

► 9:14► 9:14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ckT2YNSio

Anais Nin and Henry Miller in conversation.

I have read the diaries of Anais Nin. She was a woman who did not live a mundane life but always searched for the beautiful and unusual. I have been reading her diaries and other writings for over thirty years and still enjoy them immensely. I purchased several from the Arcane Bookshop  in Northbridge when I lived in Perth and worked at the Western Australian Museum. They now reside happily on my forever bookshelf with all her other diaries.

 

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My Writing Journey

This week I sorted out something in my novel that I always felt wasn’t quite right. The earlier drafts were fine but I feel this draft is much better for the changel! It now contains small elements of a fairytale which is not at all what my novel is about but adds something of enchantment: a forgotten story about WW2, a remarkable journey and the wonderful fact that the last part this story from the past was filmed at the time! I believe such serendipity is a gift! I am not going to discuss the details here as I have a rule not to discuss my WIP (work-in-progress) other than in general terms.  This research helped me edit two chapters to the last draft (which will be edited again before being sent to the publisher who has asked to see the completed manuscript). I have given myself three months from last week to have the final draft edited. Nothing like a deadline to get my fingers typing! I read somewhere that writing a novel (and I guess also a short story) is like pushing a pea up a hill with your nose . . . I agree. It’s wonderful when it all starts to come together. I write on a computer but could happily write on paper with a quill. I am researching Gothic literature and when the novel is finished I will  write Gothic short stories set in Australia. Australian Gothic has a long rich history which continues to the 21st century with writers like Elizabeth Jolley. Enjoy your writing week, Elise

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My Writing Journey

These last few weeks I have been away. First to Rye to a beach house, a place to write and read, without the intrusion of television or the Internet. Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit was played in the evening. Talk and wine flowed easily enough. The beach was a place to walk and meditate.

I was reminded of Sandy Cape a bay on the Indian Ocean in Western Australia. Each year that I lived on an inland farm we went to the coast. Most evenings we would go fishing. Pulling on our warmest clothes to walk from the shack, it was only a few moments along a stony track to the beach. We heard the ocean before we saw it and smelt the moist salty aroma drifting to us on the breeze. Fishing  from the beach was the perfect end to a perfect day. Along the beach, every man and his dog it seemed had the best spot. Chairs were placed carefully, for experts leave nothing to chance. We carried our catch back to the shack in a plastic bucket. We would clean the fish outside under the stars, scattering iridescent scales onto the sandy ground. Reflected in the flowing luminescence of the kerosene lamp they looked  like tiny lunar mountains. A little oil on the barbecue, a dusting of flour and the fish were soon sizzling. We often went for long walks along the beaches that edged the coast. A blissful time.

After Rye, we went  to the city of Adelaide, often forgotten, but very beautiful. We stayed a week, walked ten to fifteen kilometres a day and absorbed the surroundings by osmosis.

It was then back to writing when I returned home. I edited the second chapter of my novel again, a chapter that has always been a problem for some reason. I’m happy with it at the moment and will now put it aside. There was a lot in that chapter: a couple meeting, marrying, and then the intrusion of an American serviceman.

I enjoy reading short stories, can you guess which story the following comes from? I’ll give you a couple of clues: it is the opening of the story and the writer is from New Zealand. This is one of my favourite short stories.

‘Very early morning. The sun was not yet risen, and the whole of Crescent Bay was hidden under a white sea-mist. The big bush-covered hills at the back were smothered. You could not see where they ended and the paddocks and bungalows began. The sandy road was gone and the paddocks and bungalows the other side of it; there was no white dunes covered with reddish grass beyond them; there was nothing to mark which was beach and where was the sea. A heavy dew had fallen. The grass was blue. Big drops hung on the bushes and just did not fall; the silvery, fluffy toi-toi was limp on its long stalks, and all the marigolds and the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth with wetness. Drenched were the cold fuchsias, round pearls of dew lay on the flat nasturtium leaves.

A writing tutor might say, ‘Look, this writer uses “paddocks and bungalows” twice in close proximity’, the tutor might also say, ‘Look, this writer uses the words “just” and “was”  words best avoided,’ the tutor might also say, ‘and the writer uses “big” twice in this small example and it’s such an uninspiring word’.    And yet to me this is evocative writing, a truly beautiful description of an early morning by the sea.  So while you need to be aware of the rules of writing if you write for the  modern day reader there is no need to slavishly follow each edict so that your writing ends up like a dried out piece of fish.

Have a good writing week, Elise

PS Remember to have FUN.

 

 

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Shakespeare and Company

The most wonderful bookstore in the world!

Shakespeare & Company

March 2014Events at a Glance Wednesday 5th March 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate StablesWednesday 5th March 7pm
Philosophers in the LibraryThursday 6th March 8pm
Book signing with Dave EggersMonday 10th March 7pm
Andrew Hussey on The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its ArabsMonday 17th March 7pm
A celebration of Charles BukowskiFriday 21st March 7pm
The Fag Ash MonologuesSunday 23rd March 7pm
Hanif Kureishi on The Last WordMonday 31st March 7pm
Naomi Wood on Mrs. HemingwayEarly suggestions of spring in Paris are always magical. And these past few weeks we’ve had blue skies, pink evenings, and a warmth in the air which reminds us of sitting in parks with picnics of oysters andwhite wine. Tulips and daffodils are blooming all over the city and, on the banks of the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin, the waterside crowds are slowly returning.Maybe the changing season is putting a spring in our step, because there’s so much going on at the bookshop this month that we barely know where to start. We’re hugely looking forward to hearing from Andrew Hussey on his bold and fascinating new book, The French Intifada, a timely interrogation of France’s complicated relationship with its Arab citizens and its former colonies. The following week, fans of Bukowski will have a chance to share their favourite lines at a special evening celebrating his worktwenty years after his death. And we know how deep your passion flows for all things Hemingway here, so we can’t wait to present novelist Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway, a brilliant, tender portrait of the writer through the prism of the four women who married him. We’re also very excited to have the great Dave Eggers visiting us for a signing and, later in the month, Hanif Kureishi to enthrall and scandalize us all talking about his latest novel, The Last Word.Finally, and just because they’re so lovely, we’d like to share with you the ten winning love-steeped lines from our Valentine’s Day quotes competition…

“I ask you to pass through life at my side – to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“Each time you happen to me all over again.” – Edith Wharton, The Age Of Innocence

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss where I can not find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life?” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.” – Jeanette Winterson

“Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar but never doubt I love.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“If you live to be a hundred I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I will never have to live a day without you.” – A. A. Milne,Winnie the Pooh

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)Sylvia Beach (second from right) with a bandaged Ernest Hemingway and two shop assistants, outside the original Shakespeare and Company on rue de l’Odéon (Copyright Princeton University Library)(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)A double rainbow over Notre Dame (Photo by Milly Unwin)March Events Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings anddiscussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.Wednesday 5th March 3pmChildren’s Hour – music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event hasbecome an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated.

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate atkatestables@gmail.com to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!

Wednesday 5th March 7pmPhilosophers in the Library presents…

Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age

The concept of collective memory is now well-established within the contemporary cultural heritage sector. It is in the name of memory, and the future of memory, that a case for the preservation of heritage collections is being stated with increasing urgency, and digital technologies are perceived as presenting new opportunities for sharing and providing access to cultural resources. However, these technologies also disrupt that sense of historical continuity integral to collective memory by recoding the historical timeline as a relational database and making chronologies subsidiary to search terms.

This presentation will touch on philosophical debates about collective memory and the discourse of history in the context of the cultural heritage sector, tracing the influence of digital technologies and reflecting on the broader societal and political implications for memory in the digital age.

Liz Stainforth is a PhD student in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds). Her research considers the ideological significance attributed to memory, understood as a form of national or transnational inheritance, in relation to cultural heritage digitisation projects. Previous roles at the University of Leeds Library have involved project work with the Digital Content and Repositories Team, Special Collections, and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery.

Thursday 6th March 8pm”Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead.” – Time

We’re delighted to announce a book signing with the dazzling Dave Eggers.

Dave Eggers’s most recent novel is the critically acclaimed critique of the internet age, The Circle. He is the author of six previous books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award, and Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His novel What Is the What was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Dave Eggers is

the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a non-profit writing and tutoring centre for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centres in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Dave Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Margaret Atwood’s NYRB review of The Circle

A short Q&A with Dave Eggers onThe Circle

Monday 10th March 7pmWe’re very excited to present Andrew Hussey on his timely and provocative new book, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its Arabs.

To fully understand both the social and political pressures wracking contemporary France – and, indeed, all of Europe – as well as major events from the Arab Spring to the tensions in Mali, Andrew Hussey believes that we have to look beyond the confines of domestic horizons. As much as unemployment, economic stagnation, and social deprivation exacerbate the ongoing turmoil in the banlieues, the root of the problem lies elsewhere: in the continuing fallout from Europe’s colonial era.

Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, literature, and politics with his years of personal experience visiting the banlieues and countries across the Arab world, especially Algeria, Andrew Hussey attempts to make sense of the present situation. In the course of teasing out the myriad interconnections between past and present in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Beirut,

and Western Europe, The French Intifada shows that the defining conflict of the twenty-first century will not be between Islam and the West but between two dramatically different experiences of the world – the colonizers and the colonized.

Andrew Hussey is Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris, a regular contributor to theGuardian and The New Statesman, and the writer/presenter of several BBC documentaries on French food and art. He is the author of The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord (2001), and Paris: The Secret History (2006). He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list for services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and France.

This event will be chaired by Marie Doezema, a journalist with over ten years of reporting experience in the U.S., France, Japan, and Qatar. She is currently based in Paris, where she works as a correspondent for various international publications and as a teacher of journalism at the Sorbonne.

An extract from The French Intifada

Monday 17th March 7pm“In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see. If I write of ‘sadism’ it is because it exists, I didn’t invent it, and if some terrible act occurs in my work it is because such things happen in our lives. I am not on the side of evil, if such a thing as evil abounds. In my writing I do not always agree with what occurs, nor do I linger in the mud for the sheer sake of it. Also, it is curious that the people who rail against my work seem to overlook the sections of it which entail joy and love and hope, and there are such sections. My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist I would be a liar.” – Charles BukowskiMarch 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of Charles Bukowski’s death. What a perfect excuse to praise one of the greatest, most honest, most controversial American poets and novelists who ever lived. You’re all invited to come on stage and share your favorite poem or lines. We will also be lucky enough to have with us French writers and Bukowski fans Christophe Donner and Pierre Mikaïloff.

The event will be chaired by Alexandre Guégan, who recently translated More Notes of a Dirty Old Man into French for Grasset. And there are even rumours that we will be joined by the author himself…

Tony O’Neill on Bukowski in theGuardian

Friday 21st March 7pmSpoken Word London host (and ex-Tumbleweed extraordinaire) Pat Cash presents a short selection of the Fag Ash Monologues, three ten-minute windows into the worlds of disparate characters in modernBritain, including Patricia Primarché, the cheap drag queen, $harkface $ally, the venomous PR woman, and Vinnie, the boring boyfriend. Performed by Pat Cash, Milly Unwin, and Tom Hodges.Sunday 23rd March 7pmWe’re delighted to present Hanif Kureishi on his witty and brilliant new novel, The Last Word.

Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste.

Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile, Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word?

Hanif Kureishi was born in Kent and read philosophy at King’s College, London. His 1984 screenplay for the film My Beautiful Laundrette was nominated for an Oscar. His short story ‘My Son the

Fanatic’ was adapted as a film in 1998. The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel and was produced as a four-part drama for the BBC in 1993. His second novel was The Black Album (1995). The next,Intimacy (1998), was adapted as a film in 2001, winning the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film festival. Gabriel’s Gift was published in 2001 and Something to Tell You in 2008. A short story collection,Collected Stories, was published in 2010. Hanif Kureishi has also written non-fiction, including the essay collections Dreaming and Scheming: Reflections on Writing and Politics (2002) and The Word and the Bomb (2005). The memoir My Ear at his Heart: Reading my Fatherappeared in 2004.

Hanif Kureishi was awarded the C.B.E. for his services to literature, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts des Lettres in France. His works have been translated into 36 languages.

Observer interview with Hanif Kureishi

Monday 31st March 7pmWe’re very happy to present Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway – the story of the most famous writer of his generation and the four extraordinary women who married him.

In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge, and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley’s best friend. She is also Ernest’s lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest’s literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four women

will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife. Luminous and intoxicating, Mrs. Hemingwayportrays real lives with rare intimacy and plumbs the depths of the human heart.

Naomi Wood was born in 1983 and lives in London. She studied at Cambridge and at UEA for her MA in Creative Writing. Originally from York, she has gone on to live in Hong Kong, Paris, and Washington DC. Her first novel was The Godless Boys.

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Telegraph

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Observer

The Bard-en-Seine ReadingsThroughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter (see below for February’s reading of Romeo and Juliet), so you’ll all be able to share in the theatrical fun.

For March, the play will be The Tempest and the reading will take place on Thursday 20th at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin atmilly@shakespeareandcompany.com, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served

basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

April – King Lear
May – As You Like It
June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.

Podcasts from Recent EventsMaggie O’Farrell on Instructions for a HeatwaveMargaret Drabble on The Pure Gold BabyLouise Doughty on Apple Tree YardJoanna Walsh on Fractals, with Lauren ElkinBard-en-Seine Reading: Romeo and Juliet Staff and Tumbleweed PicksCapital by Karl MarxMy grandmother was a communist and as punishment for putting sand in my cousin’s sandwich, she made me read a chapter of Marx out-loud every Sunday for several months. At first, it was the book’s politics that stirred me – I started boycotting the local sweet-shop, knowing there was profit in rhubarb and custards. Recently though, it has been the book’s style – its incredible giant panache – that has delighted me. I encourage you to put sand in a cousin’s sandwich. – Ben AAll Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga GrjasnovaWe all are foreigners, aren’t we? Foreign to countries, languages, the relationships we live in, foreign to ourselves. So is Masha, this book’s main character. Twenty-something, independent, hair-trigger temper, a beautiful woman, graduate in translation, speaking five languages, likeable – she has everything she needs to start a successful adult life, but yet this is only the beginning of her difficult path to self-identification. An immigrant from Azerbajian, living in Germany, from a family with Jewish origins, surrounded by other outcasts, Masha is desperately trying to fix the feeling of not belonging she has been dealing with since she was a child. Set in Baku, Berlin, and Israel, this story is about how love and politics become one in Masha’s life. Harsh, witty, and very compelling, All Russians Love Birch Trees is a debut novel and a promising start to Grjasnova’s writing career. – KarolinaA Man in Love by Karl Ove KnausgaardThe second book of six. The third, Boyhood Island, comes out at the end of March, so make sure you are up-to-date with Knausgaard’s life and musings. I finished this epic in a whirlwind and am now thirsty for more. Read of Knausgaard’s move to Stockholm, of love and hate and family, and what it means to have a pencil in your hand. As one reviewer said “even when I was bored, I was interested”. Surprisingly addictive. – ThosOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezIn a world where angel-like, too-wise-for-the-world girls ascend into the sky on a warm afternoon, where the blood of murdered men runs along the streets, Marquez is king. Time to rediscover this jewel of Latino-American literature, which depicts the history of Macondo, a small Colombian village, through the different generations of the Buendia family. With a restless humour, the author embraces everything life and human beings seem to be about. The diversity of themes he tackles is only matched by a baroque style that distils magic within reality and leaves the reader to catch his breath when the last page is turned. Then, the real solitude begins. – Jean-BaptistePortions from a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles BukowskiThis is a pretty rad collection of columns, short stories, and essays that Bukowski wrote for magazines, including some of his (in)famous Notes of a Dirty Old Man. There is a lot of humour in these never-published-before gems. You might even learn a thing or two on what it takes to be a writer, a poet. You might hear of William Wantling for the first time and fall in love with his poems. You might want to beat the racetrack. And if you read it carefully, you will get that the dirty old man was in fact an angel in disguise. – Alex GPoet’s Pub by Eric LinklaterBeer and books. Saturday Keith, aspiring young poet, takes over the Pelican Pub. Cue a cross-country car-chase, farcical romantic mishaps, and P.G Wodehouse-esque quick quips. A comical portrait of life as we wish it had been in upper class 1920s Britain. – AimeeFurther Literary TidbitsMavis Gallant’s Spanish DiariesA Dramatic Reading of James Joyce’s Filthy Love LettersThe North-West London Blues by Zadie SmithThe Beautiful Magazines Proving Print Isn’t DeadCan Beauty Help Us Become Better People?James Wood on Not Going HomeThe Universal Shapes of Stories According to Kurt VonnegutWilliam Shakespeare: The King of Infinite SpaceWhy Are Books About English Grammar So Popular?George Packer on Amazon in The New YorkerThe Last Word “We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
– The TempestJoin Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter @Shakespeare_Co for daily shop updates, event announcements, and general bookshop-in-Paris notes.

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My Writing Journey

A good writing week, this is because I have sorted out a few problems with the plot and now have an arrow to the end of the story. It means more work and war scenes which are not the easy to write but I will approach them from a different angle and see how they turn out. Not a lot to tell you about the writing process this week as it seemed to fall into place without too much difficult. I wouldn’t say the writing sings but I am enjoying it. The number of chapters of my WIP (work-in-progress) that I had last week have been thrown out the window and I am writing the novel (as per my new outline) in eight parts and any number of chapters…the rigid format of trying to fit everything in to a strict format of chapters just didn’t work for my novel. I am also working on my collection of short stories of which I will write more in the coming weeks.

Have a good writing week, best Elise

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Rosa Praed (1851-1935) 19th Century Literature

Our Australian landscape is filled with Gothic imagination.

 Rosa Caroline Praed. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 118008

Rosa Caroline Praed –  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Women trapped in marriages with unkind and sometimes violent husbands is a theme that Rosa Praed returns to repeatedly. She was one of early Queensland’s most important writers. A member of the squattocracy, she came from a socially prominent family with interests in both literature and politics. Her unhappy experience of marriage is reflected in her work.

While not strictly Gothic novels, the three novels  Rosa set on Curtis Island, An Australian HeroineThe Romance of a Station and Sister Sorrow, are pervaded by the oppressive isolation of the bush and trapped women.

More than half of her 45 to 50 novels are set in Australia, but most of her life was actually spent in England where she developed a writing career and achieved celebrity  in literary and political circles.

She also had an interest in spiritualism.  It emerged in the unhappy early days of her marriage on Curtis Island and it increased in her later life. Her novel Nyria had its genesis in seances and Rosa believed that Nyria, a Roman slave, was reincarnated in her companion Nancy Haward.

Rosa Praed’s novels portray much of her own life.  It is impossible to read, for instance, descriptive passages in any of the three novels set on Curtis Island, An Australian HeroineThe Romance of a Station and Sister Sorrow, without feeling the oppressive isolation of the bush that she experienced there. Anyone looking down today, from the bare hill on which Monte Christo homestead stands, or approaching Curtis Island across the Narrows in a small boat would see the same desolate scenes as Rosa Praed, and the same endless mangroves ahead. Similarly it is impossible to read her novels portraying unhappy marriages without reflecting on the sadness within her own marriage.

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Gothic Magic

I have an interest in gothic literature. I will post about the gothic in future posts. There is something about crumbling houses, dark family secrets and gloomy castles, that I love. I have set part of my WIP (work-in-progess) in a castle. Gothic genres are often set in Australia in the twentieth century and beyond.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón was born in Barcelona and is the author of The Shadow of the Wind, the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history after Don Quixote. Translated into more than 35 languages, it has been read by over 12m readers worldwide.

Mention the gothic and many readers will probably picture gloomy castles and an assortment of sinister Victoriana. However, the truth is that the gothic genre has continued to flourish and evolve since the days of Bram Stoker, producing some of its most interesting and accomplished examples in the 20th century – in literature, film and beyond. Ours is a time with a dark heart, ripe for the noir, the gothic and the baroque.

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