I am soon off to Iceland again, my second trip to the land of ice and fire. Iceland also happens to be ‘probably the world’s most bookish country,’ according to The Guardian.
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Questions of Travel’
‘Always walk with a torch at night. There are snakes and scorpions around. Also leopard, hyena, even lion. One night last year we were sitting here having dinner and a male lion walked into the kitchen.’
‘Did he find anything to eat?’
Fiction is a restless form, in spite of a publishing industry which often just wants more of whatever sold well last year. Its innovation is located not only in the intellectual ambitions of its writers, but in history.
Of all animals, the lives of predators are perhaps the most difficult for us to imagine. I was reminded of this recently, when I interviewed the acclaimed writer Helen MacDonald for the UE
‘Winter Garden’ is the title of an exhibition curated by Lucy Reynolds for Flat Time House, a South London gallery, and for which I’ve been commissioned to write and read a story.
The daily retreat and advance of the tides is an inescapable part of life on any coast. I have always had a fascination for tides, in part from having grown up in Nova Scotia, whose Bay of Fundy is the scene of the highest tides in the world.
We have become used to illustrating our lives. If we want to buy a new digital camera, we take a photo of it in the shop with our smartphone and send it to our friend the digital camera whizz to advise.
‘Prepare for the unavoidable, avoid the unmanageable’.
Does ‘the African expatriate novel’ exist? Living and working in Africa – as well as reading and writing there – has led me to reflect on novels which share this basic premise.