Reports from Latin America

Posted: March 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

Since August 2013 I’ve been travelling Latin America, writing and researching my next novel, Once a Great Leader. On the move, I’ve been writing regular blogs for the New York/Paris based website 3am Magazine detailing life, literature, travel and also the development of my book-to-be through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Now there are a series of these pieces I’d include links to them all here, with titles. Please see below. With thanks to 3am: here they are, in order…

A Ghost Giving a Speech: here

A Human Being Made Out of a Statue: here

Borders of the Land and Mind: here

Memory Games With Bolano, or, Of What is Lost: here

Post-National Me, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Tell People I’m English: here

Dancing With Bolivar: here

PUBLICATION OF LOVESEXTRAVELMUSIK

On APRIL 22nd 2013 my new book, LoveSexTravelMusik, was published by the good people at Freight Books. Freight were responsible for Dougie’s War which I wrote jointly with Dave Turbitt and was published in 2010. Freight also published me in their magazine Gutter several times, and even published my very first story way back in 2004, so I’m very happy to be working with them again. As ever, Freight (who started out as Freight Design and have won multiple awards for their work) have made the new book a thing of beauty, replete with travel map, fourteen double page spreads, and multiple translations of quotes hidden in amongst the text.

Here’s the blurb from the Freight website….

“A lads’ weekend in Eastern Europe spirals out of control. A bleeding tourist is rescued by a stranger in downtown Toronto. A middle-aged woman holidaying in Tunisia considers the local options for love. An unemployed man shares his fantasies of a sex tour of Arizona with his long-suffering girlfriend. A woman is drawn into an impromptu but life-changing football game in the heart of the Amazon.

Following his universally acclaimed third novel, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, Somerset Maugham Award-winner, Rodge Glass, has created a themed, contemporary story collection like no other. With wit, wisdom, insight and pathos, he examines men and women of all ages who, through the advent of discount air travel, play out their lives and loves across the globe. Glass brilliantly captures the isolation, dislocation and occasional epiphanies of those who find themselves a thousand miles from home, and those who long to be.”

You can order the book direct from the Freight site. Click here. It is also in a UK-wide offer in WH Smiths Travel stores for a while after publication.

To celebrate the publication of LoveSexTravelMusik I did an interview in The Herald newspaper, available here, and did launches in Glasgow, Manchester and Edge Hill University.

In the summer I’ll be doing the Edinburgh Book Festival alongside the excellent Comma Press short story writer Adam Marek. Details TBC.  Meanwhile there’s a detailed interview with me on the Blank Media Collective website. You can see it here.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF RYAN GIGGS paperback

I’m delighted that Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs was published by Tindal Street Press / Serpent’s Tail on APRIL 4th 2013. This is also in an offer in all WH Smith Travel stores for the first month or so. Having spent much of 2012 touring the book I won’t be doing many events for it this time around, but there will be select, and some secret appearances in the months ahead. For more information please visit Tindal Street / Profile’s website. All enquiries, interviews, bookings etc. relating Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs to my publicist please. Contact: valentina.zanca@profilebooks.com

BEACONS: TALES FOR OUR NOT-SO-DISTANT FUTURE edited by Gregory Norminton

I contributed my story ‘We’re All Gonna Have the Blues’ to this book, which is a series of environmentally flavoured tales from many more distinguished authors than me, including the likes of Toby Litt, Joanne Harris, AL Kennedy, Janice Galloway, Adam Thorpe and others. I recently launched the book alongside Gregory Norminton, Clare Dudman, sponsored by Manchester Literary Festival, at the International Anthony Burgess Centre, also at Waterstone’s in Piccadilly, London, but there are many more events around the country in the months ahead, often at major literary festivals. All proceeds go to Stop Climate Chaos. You can buy ‘We’re All Gonna Have the Blues as a one off story on Amazon for mere pence. Click here.

I also wrote a piece related to this, on the emergence f climate fiction, or ‘Cli-Fi’, for The Guardian on 31st May. The piece is available here.

We’re just gathering reviews for the book at the moment, but are very pleased there have been reviews, all very positive in The Guardian, Irish Times, Scotsman, The List and even Traveller magazine – official Easyjet flight magazine. How’s that for a target market eh?

My new collection of short stories, LoveSexTravelMusik, has been confirmed for publication in April through Freight Books. Details can be found here. Here’s the blurb from the Freight website….

“A lads’ weekend in Eastern Europe spirals out of control. A bleeding tourist is rescued by a stranger in downtown Toronto. A middle-aged woman holidaying in Tunisia considers the local options for love. An unemployed man shares his fantasies of a sex tour of Arizona with his long-suffering girlfriend. A woman is drawn into an impromptu but life-changing football game in the heart of the Amazon.

Following his universally acclaimed third novel, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, Somerset Maugham Award-winner, Rodge Glass, has created a themed, contemporary story collection like no other. With wit, wisdom, insight and pathos, he examines men and women of all ages who, through the advent of discount air travel, play out their lives and loves across the globe. Glass brilliantly captures the isolation, dislocation and occasional epiphanies of those who find themselves a thousand miles from home, and those who long to be.”

Publication date: 22nd April 2013

Format: 198×129, paperback, 240pp

The front cover quote will be from Somerset Maugham Award winner Helen Walsh, author of Brass and Once Upon a Time in England, who says of the book..

 “The dozen or so destinations that make up this brilliant collection of stories are places of myth; myths imposed as much from the inside as from the relentless spew of tourists and migrants that pass through its veins from the outside. Rodge Glass manages to get right under the skin of these familiar yet constantly shifting landscapes and effectively bring them to life, but it is his ability to get under the skin of the myths themselves and then make them resonate in a fresh and original way that will elevate LOVE SEX TRAVEL MUSIK to an influential and significant piece of literary fiction.  If Raymond Carver and Kafka were put in a room together and asked to rewrite a Lonely Planet Guide for 2013, then I guess it would look something like this. Brilliant, razor sharp and thoroughly modern in its prose. I love this collection of stories.”

More details to follow.

APPEARANCES February/March 2013

I will be doing launches for the book, and will be doing some events up and down the country later in the year.For now here are a few live dates coming up….I’ll be appearing at…..

February 24th, 3.30pm, £.9.50, King’s Place, London, as part of Jewish Book Week

Chairing event with Howard Jacobson, ‘How to Make Love to Your Mother in Law’

March 2nd, 11.15am, £7.50, Guildhall, Bath, as part of the Bath Literary Festival

Reading from Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs and discussing sportswriting with Owen Sheers, author of Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby.

March 2nd, 4.30pm, £8, Mineral Hospital, Bath, chairing Memory and Optimism, event with Charles Fernyborough and Elaine Fox discussing their latest books on the developments in neuroscience.

March 3rd, 2.45pm, £6.50, Guidhall, Bath, chairing Iceland and Antarctica, event with Sarah Moss and Gavin Francis talking about their books.

For all information relating to Bath Literature Festival, click here.

March 7th, 6.30pm, Free Event at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester.  Alongside Clare Dudman and Chair Gregory Norminton, as part of Manchester Literature Festival, launching Beacons: Stories for Our Not So Distant Future, a book of environmentally themed stories published by Oneworld Publications and featuring my own ‘We’re All Gonna Have the Blues’. The book also includes contributions from AL Kennedy, Alasdair Gray, Joanne Harris, Toby Litt, Adam Thorpe, Janice Galloway and many others besides.

Full details about Beacons can be found here.

March 15th, 7.30pm, Blackwell’s bookshop, Manchester, Free Event, in support of James Higgerson’s new book The Almost Lizard. Also appearing will be Chris Killen, author of The Bird Room and Sam Mills, author of The Quiddity of Will Self.

 

The Next Big Thing questionnaire

Posted: January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Some of you may have seen this writer blog The Next Big Thing that’s been going around recently. The fantastic poet Andrew Philip (his new book is being published by Salt this year) sent me on the questions, and then I’m supposed to send these on to more writers once I’m done. As LoveSexTravelMusik isn’t out for a few months yet I thought I should answer about Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs….
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I read The Damned United by David Peace, which is a brilliant portrayal of football in 1970s England, especially male relationships in 1970s England, and I thought: I want to do that for the Premiership. The book was always going to be based on my own family’s experiences as United supporters, but the hero of the book was originally Eric Cantona until the film Looking for Eric came out. That was a real blessing, as Cantona burned too bright for too short a time to be right for the novel. I needed someone who was a survivor, who could have played at the same time as Mikey but then also played 20 years later. Which left only one player eligible. Meanwhile, Peace is working on a novel about Bill Shankly, and I’ll be first in the queue for the finished product, Red or Dead.


What genre is the book?

I’m not sure – is football fiction a genre? If not perhaps ‘faction’ is as good as any to put it under. That’s something Peace has talked about, using real life events as a starting point but then spiralling into fiction. Peace, and Gordon Burn, who inspired him, have argued that the only way for the novel to remain relevant is to mix fact and fiction (just like the news does – so says Burn.) I like the idea of melding the two and had great fun with it.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, my hero Mikey Wilson, the worst player ever for Manchester United – who would you get? Well, I’m not sure but though he hardly fits the description, I rather like Daniel Day Lewis. At least you know he’d commit to the part, and could probably bring the necessary darkness to older Mikey. If I can’t have Day Lewis, we’ll just leave it as a novel…

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs is the story of the worst player ever for Manchester United – and his obsession with the greatest ever.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Indirectly it was the glitzy 24 hour family friendly Premiership – and all that comes with it. My way into that came via my brother, who is a producer for Sky Sports News. He was a great commentator of all our imaginary football adventures when we were kids, and his job got me thinking about the rights and responsibilities caught up with this multi-million industry which takes up the time and energy of so many who are swallowed by the game.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fact that is has been universally acclaimed. (Insert appropriate cheeky emoticon here).

Will your book by self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ve had the same agent since my first book, Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, who has always been fantastic for me. And the book was published last April by Tindal Street Press, now part of Profile Books. Serpent’s Tail will be publishing the paperback this April, so I hope it’ll find its way to more readers in 2013.

Starter for 2013

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Firstly, thanks to everyone who came along to an event in 2012, got in contact or bought any one of my books in the last 12 months – last year was the busiest, most varied and most fun I’ve had as an author. The reception to Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs was wonderful, more than I could have ever hoped for, and I was very lucky to have been invited far and wide to festivals both big and small, in big cities and tiny towns. Meanwhile I edited Second Lives for Cargo Publishing with Jane Bernstein (more on that soon) and The Healing of Luther Grove, by Barry Gornell. Also, I started at Edge Hill University and relocated to Manchester. It felt like I was on the move all year, from the South Bank Centre to Serbia, Latitude Festival in the south of England to Ullapool way up in the north of Scotland. Most recently I was at the 1st International Alasdair Gray Conference in Brest, France, and I’ve finished writing my next book, LoveSexTravelMusik, a collection of travel short stories which will be published by Freight in April of this year. Also, the excellent Serpent’s Tail will be publishing Being Me the Head… in paperback in 2013, and I will be appearing at events in London, Bath, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and elsewhere in the months to come. Also, look out for me on radio and TV. Recently I’ve been a regular contributor to BBC Radio Scotland’s Book Cafe, I was interviewed for BBC 4′s The Art of Winter series, also I appeared on 5 Live’s Men’s Hour and Radio 4′s Open Book. There’ll be more in 2013.

I’ll update the site soon in time for the new book, but in the meantime thanks to everyone who made my 2012 such a blast.

Edge Hill and Autumn Tour 2012

Posted: October 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

EDGE HILL POST

On September 1st I took up a new post as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University, a gorgeous and growing campus University in Ormskirk, between Manchester and Liverpool. There’s an excellent Creative Writing team there – short story specialist Ailsa Cox, poet and translator Daniele Pantano, scriptwriter and dramatist Kim Wiltshire and poet and critic Robert Sheppard. I’m enjoying settling in, and have relocated to Manchester, where I grew up, after 15 happy years in Scotland. Over the next few months I’ll be getting to know the place, teaching all my new writing courses, and finishing off my next book, LoveSexTravelMusik, which will be published by Freight in May 2013. Also, doing lots of travelling back and forth over the England/Scotland border.

AUTUMN TOUR 2012

Meanwhile, the Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs tour has been continuing. Last month t I was on at the Shetland Wordarts Festival way up north, then I took part in Cargo Publishing’s ambitious Elsewhere Day, Manchester branch, alongside the remarkable David Vann and over the next 4 weekends I’ll be at 4 different festivals on either side of Hadrian’s Wall.

October 13th - Manchester Literature Festival at the National Football Museum, 3pm, with David Conn of The Guardian, details here. (Please note this event was sold out but more tickets have been released.)

October 21st – Lancaster Litfest, 3pm, alongside Alan Bissett, details here.

October 28th – Dundee Book Festival – Literary Dundee, 3pm, alongside Graham Hunter and Richard Wilson, details here.

November 3rd – Linlithgow Festival, 7.30pm as part of the Freight Books Gutter Showcase alongside Andrew Philip and Elizabeth Reeder

These are my final dates for the year, and I’m looking forward to them. After that it’s shut up shop til 2013, If you need me I’ll be hibernating…or probably doing some marking. Onwards!