Of typos and ‘The Pretender’. Revised reprints from East Lane Books

Ages ago I promised to explain the title of my ebook publishing imprint, which I’ve used for several years to publish eBook versions of my out of print titles, along with eBooks of the work I publish with Nottingham’s Shoestring Press, which avidly resists publishing digitally (while Shoestring does have a website you can order physical books from, it doesn’t sell on Amazon and the publisher doesn’t use the internet himself or have an email address). My set up is simple. I only publish books that I’ve written and the recent ones have been digitised by The Book Typesetters an excellent team who also handle all of Shoestring’s typesetting and more. I chose the name East Lane Books because it’s the name of the lane…

2021: The Sleeve Notes

Been a bit late getting started this year, due to a bereavement and other issues but, as ever, I’ve made a best of year CD to send to friends – our 33rd compilation – which is now accompanied by a Spotify playlist. I’m going to be posting daily sleeve notes here – not quite a track a day as, Covid willing, we hope to be away now and then, but I’ll be done by New Year. As usual, only tracks released since the last CD was compiled qualify and I tend not to include cover versions (sorry, Suzannah Hoffs and Robert Plant with Alison Krauss who both made excellent covers LPs) with a couple of late exceptions. Songs are from albums I’ve bought and appear…

Death in the Family – signed, limited edition. Order now in time for Christmas.

This month marks six years since the publication of the third Bone and Cane novel The Great Deception. Many readers assumed, not illogically, that the third novel marked the final part of a trilogy that had begun five years earlier with Bone and Cane. But that was never my intention. Indeed, back in 2015, I had a sabbatical from my part-time academic post to work on the fourth novel in the series. That October I was 20,000 words into the first draft when my oldest friend, Mike Russell, died of cancer, which took me off track. I  was getting going again  in December when, against our expectations, Nottingham won UNESCO City of Literature accreditation. I was, until recently, chair of the board, and found myself running things for nine…

Brian Moore’s Century

Today is the centenary of the Belfast born novelist Brian Moore, who I’ve been reading for 44 years, since a friend introduced me to his work during the first term of my English and American literature degree. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Moore’s fiction, supervised by Northern Irish poet Tom Paulin, who was also a Moore fan. He remains my favourite post-war novelist in the English language. Yet when I mention him to people born after 1970, they’ve never heard of him. One has to ask why – apart from his having a rather common name which, nevertheless, nobody knows how to pronounce (it’s Bree-an) – this might be? I attended an online Moore symposium at the University of Exeter earlier this year and there…

May reading: in and out of lockdown

This blog can also be read on the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature website. I’m a sucker for a good Antarctic or Arctic story. My favourite in this genre is Trevor Griffiths’ seven-part TV telling of the Scott expedition, The Last Place on Earth, from the mid-eighties. I was reminded of this recently by the harrowing TV series, The Terror, which is a fictionalised version of the ill-fated Frankland expedition in search of the North-West passage through the Arctic. Then there are Thomas Kenneally’s two fine novels The Survivor and A Victim of the Aurora, both from long before he won The Booker Prize with Schindler’s List. Each made a big impression on me forty years ago. To these can now be added Jon McGregor’s…