Tag Archives: English novelists

Fiona Robyn’s The Blue Handbag

I stayed up until 2 o’clock on Sunday morning reading The Blue Handbag (Snowbooks, August 2009), Fiona Robyn’s second novel.  Fiona is an accomplished writer with a deep understanding of human nature.  Her evocative descriptions of the natural world and English flora are among the best I’ve read – and she says I can adopt Pickles (Leonard’s dog).

Fiona has started a blog, 100 Readers, which will feature interviews with 100 readers of The Blue Handbag.  If you check in at 100 Readers, you’ll be able to follow her novel as it makes its way in the world.  I’m privileged to be the first reader Fiona interviews.

Jeanette Winterson on gardening and writing

 
“I learned to garden the way I learned to write – out of necessity.  We needed vegetables and flowers, and I needed to tell myself a long story about life – I am still telling it – a kind of beanstalk that grows and grows, and I can climb it, both to escape the possibility of life at the bottom, and to find another world where giants and castles and harp-playing hens are still to be found.
 
Gardening, like story-telling, is a continuing narrative.  One thing leads to another.  Like stories, there is always something going on in the garden long after the gardener has gone to bed.  The thing grows, unfolds, changes, develops a maddening life of its own.  For me, as a writer, I go to sleep with an idea in my head, and it takes hold during the night.  I open the back door in the morning, and the tulips that refused to look at me the night before, have opened in the sun.”
 
– Jeanette Winterson
 
Read the article here.

J G Ballard, 1930 – 2009

 
“J G Ballard, the author who has died aged 78, was best known for his two fictionalised autobiographies, Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women; the former, which told of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp outside Shanghai, became an international best-seller and was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg.”
 
Read J G Ballard’s obituary in The Telegraph.

Writing objects to the lie that life is small

 
“Writing objects to the lie that life is small.  Writing is a cell of energy.  Writing defines itself.  Writing draws its viewer in for longer than an instant.  Writing exhibits boldness.  Writing restores power to exalt, unnerve, shock, and transform us.  Writing does not imitate life, it anticipates life.”
 
– Jeanette Winterson

Stevie Smith

“The human creature is alone in his carapace.  Poetry is a strong way out.  The passage out that she blasts is often in splinters, covered with blood …”

– Stevie Smith

Jeanette Winterson writes about her father’s death

“When I look at my life I realise that the mistakes I have made, the things I really regret, were not errors of judgement but failures of feeling.”

– Jeanette Winterson

Read Jeanette Winterson’s January column on the death of her father here.