09 February 2018

Areopagitica cover page - yellow old paper and seventeenth century printing style


One of them knocked on my door to invite me out. I think their lists are not good. Mrs Coyle says he was a young man and well-favoured, but not very bright.

“Come out! Come out! The King is here!” the young man said. Mrs Coyle told him I was blind and infirm and could not come out.

“Let him watch from the window, then,” cried the young man in an excess of enthusiasm for his cause. [… more]



I wrote this piece for the International Literature Showcase and then forgot about it, and then it came out a few days ago and I realised I hadn’t read it back in ages and I had one of those classic writer moments where my brain insisted everyone would hate it. Hate hate hate it and I would be a laughing stock.


But it turns out people do not hate it. In fact they find value in it. They even like it. So now I am all YES YES OF COURSE I ALWAYS KNEW I AM A SHINY PERSON I HAVE NO DOUBT DOUBT IS ALIEN TO THE CREATIVE SOUL.

Because: writer.

Does it have contemporary relevance? Your mileage may vary. Certainly I couldn’t say.


Currently Reading:

02 February 2018


Currently reading:

Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows


Basically random but work. I saw it in the bookshop and I wanted it. Brain fuel for stories.

Next up:

Afua Hirsch, Brit(Ish)


1. Afua is awesome

2. It’s important

Waiting on:

Saad Z Hossain, Djinn City


Because Escape from Baghdad!

Is there anything else in the mix?

Always. I constantly re-evaluate and reschedule my reading. There are several other books and manuscripts on my desk and any one of them may take my interest in the next eight hours and get bumped up or down. The thing is that I have trouble reading when I’m working and at the moment I am always working – I either end up drawn in and distracted and (worst of all) writing a bad copy of what I’m reading, or I end up kicking myself out of the text because it doesn’t jibe with what’s already rolling around in my head. Things that dovetail with my mood are rare and my mood fluctuates.

But I sent you/was going to send you –

Yes and I am not ignoring it and I am not kidding when I say that I may read it tonight and finish it at 3 am because that also happens.

You watch too much TV.

This is also true. But again, it is not too much it is what feeds the rat. Always feed your story rat.

We’re doing this wrong

30 January 2018

boardwalk into a blasted landscape of burned trees

We’re doing this wrong, this civilisation thing. We’ve slipped off the saddle and now the horse is dragging us along by our ankles and if we’re very, very lucky we may bounce back up on top but otherwise we’re going to lose some skin and ultimately end up alone in the sand while the future gallops away into the distance without us.

I have no idea what the horse is in this metaphor. I do know that we’ll die in this desert.

Look: we’ve got drug-resistant leprosy.

Look: we’re reaching the point where we can’t breathe the air.

Look: our politics has most of the traits described in Umberto Eco’s essay on Fascism.

We’re doing it wrong.

We care about the wrong things.

We’ve got to fix this.

More soon.

GNOMON is nearly here

27 October 2017

Version 4

And this is the jacket photo. The whole vibe is supposed to say: Okay, this is me, and I am no longer screwing around. Because I’m not. If there’s one thing about this book, it’s that I’m no longer apologising for my writing. I do this stuff. This is stuff that I do.

Drop me a line

Drop me a line! Forgive me if the response is not immediate - I tend to get rather behind. If something requires my rapid attention, please tweet me or get in touch through my agent, Patrick.

Cheers, NH





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