Category Archives: Surrealism

The Art of Making People: characters in historical fiction

If a historical novel is defined as one in which events from history are presented as they actually happened, then my unpublished novel Swimming with Tigers doesn’t qualify as one. The alterations I have made to the facts about the … Continue reading

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Francesca Woodman

Liverpool Tate’s summer exhibition is called Life in Motion and places paintings by Egon Schiele next to photographs by Francesca Woodman.  Schiele was Austrian, working before World War One and Woodman was American, producing her photographs in the 1970s.  Arguably … Continue reading

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Surrealist novels?

Can you name any Surrealist novels?  I don’t mean books with surreal elements such as magical, illogical or dream-like ideas or events, I mean novels about Surrealism as a movement or depicting Surrealist artists.  No?  That’s because there are very … Continue reading

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The Surrealist Muse

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a muse as “a person (often a female lover) or thing regarded as the source of an artist’s inspiration”. Here is one of the muses of Surrealism: The image appeared on the cover of the … Continue reading

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Truth Versus Fiction: the 1938 Surrealist Exhibition in Paris

My novel about the Surrealists, Swimming with Tigers, is loosely based on real people and events, but having the latitude to adapt, recombine and invent elements and individuals within the movement made it possible for me to recreate key moments … Continue reading

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Un-free writing, and possession

Right now, like my own students, I’m revising my work. On April 8th, a year after starting, I completed the first draft of my new novel The Dead Have Time to Listen.  It was an intense last few weeks in … Continue reading

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Sex and the Surrealist Image

What is your definition of beauty? Have you got a favourite line of poetry that describes beauty by using an image to suggest it? If you have, it’s probably not this often-quoted Surrealist simile: “As beautiful as the chance encounter … Continue reading

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Leonora Carrington at Liverpool Tate: hit or miss?

Major solo exhibitions of women Surrealists are extremely rare so when I first heard that Liverpool Tate were putting on an exhibition of work by the painter and writer Leonora Carrington, I was excited. This would be the first British … Continue reading

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Breton’s Nadja and my novel-in-waiting

I wrote a novel to fill a gap.  A gap in Surrealism.  The name of that gap is Nadja, and in my novel, Swimming with Tigers (currently being considered for publication by Honno Press) she is called Suzanne.  Let me … Continue reading

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Freewriting is Surrealist!

Most creative writing guidebooks, even when they recommend freewriting (or whatever they call it) don’t mention its origin in Freud’s theories and Surrealist practice.  Knowing where it came from might enlarge the way we do it.  If freewriting is magic … Continue reading

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