Creative Writing

Influences and Favourites

Four authors I particularly admire.

Without question, the writer who has probably influenced me most in recent years is T Coraghessan Boyle. He writes with such clarity and such realism that I can shut my eyes and I’m walking right back down Main St in the small upstate NY town in which I recently spent so many years . In this video he answers questions about writing at USC.

Margaret Atwood at the Prague Writers’ Festival (2008) reading It’s Not Easy Being Half-Divine and Faster from The Tent and some of her poetry. I think The Tent was probably the first book I read which really got me interested in the very short form, it’s one of those books I keep returning to and every time find something new in her writing. I love her sardonic humour, sometimes it feels like she can drawn blood with just a few words.

Alice Munro at the International Festival of Authors in conversation with Diana Anthill. For me Alice Munro writes with such lucidity and lyricism about the ordinary and the every-day stuff of life that it never seems in the slightest bit ordinary.

Aimee Bender. It took me a long time to get into Aimee Bender’s writing and then I read The Girl With The Flammable Skirt, since then I’ve been hooked. I frequently find myself in awe of how she can weave so much into her work and do it with a sparsity which some have said rivals Hemingway. This is a particularly long video but I think well worth the time.

It wasn’t until after I’d written this short piece that I realised all of these are North American writers, two Canadian and two American. I think this stems from the fact that I still feel freshly dug up and transplanted from that continent and returned to my country of origin.   Perhaps what they say and how they say it just feels more familiar to me right now. Perhaps I’m still struggling to recognise and fit back in to the country I’ve returned to, or maybe it’s just the lot of returned ex-pats to not quite belong anywhere.