Category Archives: Surrealism

Re-launch coming soon!

It was January 2015 when, inspired by a weekend of baking bread with Mick Hartley The Partisan Baker, I composed my first post for The Freewriter’s Companion. I had two aims.  One was to popularize freewriting, a liberating and fertile … Continue reading

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Breton’s Nadja and my novel-in-waiting

My novel Swimming with Tigers is based on a real historical person connected to surrealism in the 1920s known as Nadja. In this post I want to share with you how I used a combination of research and freewriting to … Continue reading

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Tanning at the Tate!

The artist Dorothea Tanning lived to the age of 101.  Her long career as a painter, sculptor and writer is being celebrated now at Tate Modern in London.  And what a celebration!  For as long as Dali is better known … Continue reading

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Happy Endings and the other kind

This post is about stories in films and books, and in life. The stories we consume are very often structured in an artificial way, but we’ve become so used to the shape of stories in Hollywood films such as rom-coms … Continue reading

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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If a historical novel is defined as one in which events from history are presented as they actually happened, then my unpublished novel Swimming with Tigers doesn’t qualify as one.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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