Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Martin Amis

Tomorrow night I'm looking forward to seeing Martin Amis reading/talking at the Playhouse in Norwich. His novel, Time's Arrow, is one of my favourite books. I also enjoyed his memoir, Experience (though thought he spent too much time dedicated to his dentistry - not interesting to anyone else, surely?). But his account of his cousin's abduction and murder was very moving.

While I was studying for my Masters degree at the University of East Anglia, he did a reading as part of the events series there. I don't remember what book he was writing and talking about at the time, but being on the Creative Writing degree programme gave us the privilege of having a private audience with the visiting writers before their main lecture.

We crowded into a small classroom. He walked in, took the prime seat at the front next to the whiteboard, and throughout smoked roll ups and tipped his ash into the chalk/pen holder. Though it was before the general smoking ban in public buildings, it was still against the rules to smoke in the university building. Obviously those rules don't apply to superstars who can smoke anywhere, even after the ban.

I was lucky that the year I was there UEA had a lot of very good visiting writers, and they were all sweet enough to spend time with us writing students beforehand.

The writer I was most excited about was Kazuo Ishiguro. I had only just discovered him, as part of the advice for getting on the course was to read previous students' work. Kazuo Ishiguro studied on the MA Creative Writing course at UEA almost 30 years ago. Of his four novels I have read I still prefer A Pale View of Hills, his first novel (I couldn't face reading The Unconsoled - actually I've just remembered I've read five of his novels but due to disliking it immensely had blocked out When We Were Orphans from my memory - dreadful novel).

Incidentally, Ishiguro is reading at the Southbank tonight from his new book of short stories due to be published soon. I wish I was there.
Megalicious enjoying a plate of ham on the kitchen table (don't tell Hagos). She hooks each piece with a claw, throws it up in the air as if it's a mouse, and catches it in her jaws. One piece of ham almost landed on my laptop.

No comments: