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Last night (November 19th) Ursula Le Guin accepted the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. 'I think hard times are coming', she said in her acceptance speech, ' when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how

Christian schoolbus propaganda, Mississippi

Of all the jargon words that get thrown around in British political discourse, "faith" may be the one from which I feel most alienated. If you listen to politicians, "faith" seems to be a nebulous goodness, a state of mind that leads citizens to behave in certain convenient ways. The faithful

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Walt Whitman

'Formally “10:04” belongs to an emerging genre, the novel after Sebald, its 19th-century furniture of plot and character dissolved into a series of passages, held together by occasional photographs and a subjectivity that hovers close to (but is never quite identical with) the subjectivity of

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This is not boring in the way bad narrative is boring; it is boring in the way life is boring, and somehow, almost perversely, that is a surprising thing to see on the page. 

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Miss Pipi's Blue Tale

[This text was written for the Camden Arts Centre's Exhibition: 'We at Camden Arts Centre are Exceedingly Proud to Present an Exhibition of Capable Artworks by the Notable Hand of the Celebrated American, Kara Elizabeth Walker, Negress.' up from

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Anti corruption demo

'For this displaced member of the Nigerian elite, Lagos is the opposite of an open city. His decision to leave, to make himself a cosmopolitan, in other words to have aerials instead of roots, has closed it off definitively.'

I r

Published May 20th 2014 by Atavist Books, my new ebook. Here's the publisher's blurb: Read more about Twice Upon a Time: Listening to New York (2014)

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A piece my G Metzger

 

 
LEAR: … what can you say to draw a third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.
LEAR: Nothing?
CORDELIA: Nothing.
LEAR: Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.
 
[King Lear I.
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Public phone with Voicemail written over it in red marker pen.

 In June, I gave a keynote at 'Writing in the Digital Age' at the Free Word Centre in London. I spoke about how new technologies are not just changing how writers market themselves, sell books or relate to the reader, but the possibilities of fiction itself. 

Audio and slides

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Burning Book

 On Friday, over lunch, I heard the news that Salman Rushdie would not be attending the Jaipur Literature Festival. His visit had been in doubt for some time. Initially, we had been scheduled to have a conversation on stage that afternoon, but since Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the head of the

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