After six years, this blog will be moving and finally closed by the end of August 2011. The new site can be found here and all posts from here have been transferred there. From now until the end of August posts will run in parallel with comments closed on new posts here. A link will be made to the post on the new Wordpress blog for the purposes of comments and for ease of finding it. Please update your bookmarks, feeds and links etc. And - if you choose to come with me - thank you for doing so and for continuing to read. Sidebar links here will be updated on the new blog during August as time allows.
A post from February recording the BBC's decision not to recommission this series attracted quite a few comments. A couple more in the last few days draw my attention to it again. Zen has been aired in north America by PBS over the summer (with the final episode due on 31 July) and viewers there have found this site and left comments. Yesterday, Maclean's magazine in Canada reported on it in an article headed 'Intelligent viewers have spoken' - the title says it all.
Thanks all for the comments. Further comments can be left by clicking here.
Meanwhile, PBS has some new interviews (with Rufus Sewell and Ed Stoppard) to accompany the series, as well as further videos which you can find here. Sample below.
Authors: S J Watson (Transworld); M J (Melanie) McGrath (Pan Macmillan); Gordon Ferris (Corvus); Julia Crouch (Headline). In the chair: Val McDermid.
The inspiration for these debut novels:
S J Watson’s (SJW) inspiration came from a man whose obituary he penned. The man had such bad epilepsy he had an operation to remove part of his brain which then impacted his memory to the degree that each day meant the start of production of new memories with no long term retention. M J McGrath (MJM) spent time in the high arctic in order to research her non-fiction work. Here she met a female polar bear hunter who became the inspiration for her half-white, half-Inuit protagonist Edie Kiglatuk.
Gordon Ferris (GF) took his inspiration from what became his title: The Hanging Shed. In these buildings condemned men were led from room to room to the ultimate place that delivered the end of their lives in post WWII Glasgow. Julia Crouch (JC) runs and listens to music at the same time. As she pounded the terrain down in Brighton, a Nick Cave song – The Boatman’s Call, inspired by his relationship with P J Harvey – threw up a question in her mind: how can such passion arise in your steady-Eddy, beloved husband?
Here it is:
Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)
Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side (Faber)
Carol Birch Jamrach's Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Serpent's Tail - Profile)
Yvvette Edwards A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst The Stranger's Child (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuinness The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books)
A.D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick Far to Go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D.J. Taylor Derby Day (Chatto & Windus - Random House)
Note that A.D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic) appeared on the CWA Gold Dagger longlist last week. The novels of Stephen Kelman, A.D. Miller, Yvvette Edwards and Patrick McGuinness are debuts.
Congratulations to all!
The Reading Festival of Crime Writing has moved from September to November this year and runs from Thursday 10 November to Sunday 13 November. Currently running (and closing on 31 August) is an early bird offer where all 10 Victoria Hall event tickets can be bought for £30.
[Some posts on the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival coming up over the next couple of days. This little one is to satisfy those in need of a fix post-Harrogate.]
Blessed be those who release us from the grip of the Scandinavian crime novel and invite us to take some time out on the tundra.
M J McGrath – Melanie McGrath in her previous non-fiction outings – has a wonderful knowledge of life in the outer reaches of Arctic Canada, its history and politics, and its culture in the contemporary world. She shares all this in White Heat, managing to take in Greenland along the way. Her protagonist, Edie Kiglatuk, is a force to be reckoned with and a beautifully refreshing character in today’s world for this is a woman who takes family, responsibility and commitment seriously. She may be divorced but she still feels and acts upon her commitment to her stepson Joe.
Edie is an expert hunter and guide in a forbidding terrain. She takes two tourists on an expedition but returns with one dead, shot in mysterious circumstances. Canada it may be, and arms length at that, but with a sparse population the authorities do not operate as many of us would expect. When Edie reports this unfortunate occurrence, the Council of Elders in Autisaq are quick to deem it an accident with an overriding view to protection of their much needed economic income from tourism. Think hushed. Think hidden. Think under the carpet, if such flooring existed in this part of the world.