The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.
In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.
All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.
I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.
British writing celebrated: Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize announces longlist
The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize today (Tuesday 12 May) announces its longlist of 15 books which showcase the breadth and vibrancy of British writing today. Now in its 5th year, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize is unique in its aim to celebrate great British fiction and each year awards a group of 8 writers with £5,000 each.
The longlisted books are:
- A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
- Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth (Canongate Books)
- Beastings by Benjamin Myers (Bluemoose Books)
- Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape, Penguin Random House)
- Mobile Library by David Whitehouse (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
- Mother Island by Bethan Roberts (Chatto & Windus, Penguin Random House)
- Significance by Jo Mazelis (Seren Books)
- The Four Marys by Jean Rafferty (Saraband)
- The Incarnations by Susan Barker (Doubleday, Transworld)
- The Offering by Grace McCleen (Sceptre, Hodder & Stougton)
- The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies (Salt)
- The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis (Sandstone Press)
- The Stray American by Wendy Brandmark (Holland Park Press)
- The Way Out by Vicki Jarrett (Freight Books)
- Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer (Melville House UK)
This diverse group of books has been chosen by the judges as they display the flair, range and literary rigour abounding in British writing today and should, the judges believe, be widely read. In a nation reeling from the most divisive general election for many years, this is a group of books that can unify readers in the power of a good story.
Announcing the longlist, chair of judges India Knight said:
“It is absolutely thrilling to have found such brilliant books, across such a wide variety of genres, and from authors that live and write all over the country. These are fantastic writers who deserve to be household names.”
On the decision to release the longlist for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize for the first time this year, prize Founder and Director Sophie Rochester said:
“With writers from Swansea, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bath, Brighton, Lancaster, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Glasgow and London, and publishers from Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland and Norfolk, this year’s longlist presents an exciting snapshot of contemporary British fiction writing and publishing.”
Joining India Knight on the judging panel this year are Matt Bates (WH Smith Travel), Cathy Galvin (Word Factory/Newsweek) and Simon Savidge (Savidge Reads).
The final 8 winners will be announced on Thursday 18 June at a party at the Jerwood Space, London. WH Smith Travel will be running an eight-week summer promotion featuring all eight winning Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize titles. The titles will feature in stores across the UK from 25 June 2015.
Delighted to say that Black Gods Kiss, my collection of “guns and sorcery” stories, published last year in hardcover by PS Publishing, is now available in e-book.
While the hardcover is a thing of beauty (thanks to my superb artist, Pedro Marques, who’d gone above and beyond designing literally every page!), the e-book is right there so, take your pick!
His name was Gorel of Goliris and he was a gunslinger and an addict, touched by the Black Kiss. Gorel wanted nothing more than to return to his home, the greatest empire the World had ever known, from which he was banished by sorcery as a child. But wherever he went, trouble doggedly followed, and death preceded his steps . . .
In Black Gods Kiss Lavie Tidhar returns to the vivid world of his 2012 British Fantasy Award winning novella, Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God. It collects 5 long adventures set before and after the events of Pot-Bellied God, and includes a brand-new novella, “Kur-a-Len”.
In these pages you will find thrilling tales of guns and sorcery, filled with ghosts, mercenaries, necromancers and gods – not to mention sex, and death!
E-BOOK AVAILABLE FROM
WHAT THEY SAY
“One of the most flamboyantly entertaining collections of the year… what [the stories] are is almost the pure essence of pulp – violent, action-packed, paced like a runaway freight train, politically incorrect and socially unredeemable.” – Locus Magazine
“Muscular fantasy… varied, adult, occasionally surreal and always interesting. Black Gods Kiss is a collection for readers seeking a different flavour to their fantasy.” – British Fantasy Society
“Classic heroic fantasy… My overwhelming feeling upon reading it is gratitude that such an exceptional writer chooses to write the kind of books I want to read.” –Theaker’s Quarterly
Delighted to say I’ve just signed the contract for the Italian edition of A Man Lies Dreaming, to be published by Sperling & Kupfer Editore’s Frassinelli imprint next year.
This is my second novel to be published in Italian, following Osama, and Frassinelli is a fantastic imprint, publishing, among others, writers like David Mitchell and Meir Shalev.
More translation news to follow soon – including news of a couple of new books I just signed contracts for, and a US edition for A Man Lies Dreaming…
I’m doing a couple of events this week, so please come if you’re around!
TUESDAY, 28 APRIL
Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, 18:30, The Grange Holborn Hotel, 50-60 Southampton Row, WC1B 4AR London
Come and be super relaxed this April, and listen to the fabulous Tatum Flynn and Lavie Tidhar talk about their books. With all the usual chat and shenanigans.
THURSDAY, 30 APRIL
Waterstones Kingston, 19:00, 2nd Floor, The Bentall Centre, Kingston Upon Thames
This month, we’ll be having the award-winning author of Osama and Violent Century – Lavie Tidhar He’s won the BSFA, British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards, travelled all over the world and is one of the most entertaining authors you’ll ever meet.
Delighted to say we recently sold Czech language rights in A Man Lies Dreaming to Czech publishers Argo (Argo.cz).
I’m obviously pleased! I think I had 4 short stories published in Czech before, but this is my first novel in the Czech Republic.
There are other translation deals in the works for A Man Lies Dreaming – details soon, hopefully!
In Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens, editors Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene have gathered together brand new stories from the light-hearted to the profound with almost twenty tales of zombies, aliens and the Chosen People.
With authors including Orange Prize winner Naomi Alderman, Big Bang Theory writer/producer Eric Kaplan, BSFA Award winner Adam Roberts and best-seller Sarah Lotz, these are undoubtedly the must-have anthologies of the year. (Plus, check out the sexy covers by Sarah Anne Langton!)