On the occasion of the announcement of the forthcoming publication of 926 Years

926 YearsA few years ago (I’m being coy here, the internet doesn’t forget), I posted on social media my reaction to a story I’d read by Kyle Coma-Thompson, a writer from Louisville, Kentucky. The global literary community is small and beautiful, like something you’d discover on an empty beach. Kyle’s wife Marie saw the tweet, told Kyle, and Kyle emailed me to see if I wanted to read the collection the story was pulled from. Soon, Kyle was one of my favourite writers, and I was fortunate enough to be penpals with him.

Life – and literature, too – works in strange ways. Kyle and I continued our correspondence, emailing sporadically, then writing some poetry together. For fun, to keep the mind sharp, to explore ideas, to challenge – writers do these things, I guess. This turned into prose writing, trading pieces across the planet while the other slept.

In parallel to this, Joshua Rothes started Sublunary Editions, a small press which mails literature to subscribers every month, as well as chapbooks and small books. The opportunity to put something together for Joshua came up and our collaborative poetry writing suddenly seemed like training for this larger, more serious thing. We had an idea, set the rules and started writing. Soon, by some small miracle, a book-shaped thing materialised.

Now, I’m pleased to announce that 926 Years by Kyle and I will be published by Sublunary Editions on 21 January 2020. 

Of course, I’m excited and proud to have another book on the way, and reasonably soon after Letter. The work with Kyle began precisely because of the slump I was in after the work I’d put into the debut – the desire to write was extreme, but the ideas weren’t coming and it was bothering me. I was feeling drained, I should have rested, but writing is usually the thing that gives me energy. Catch twenty-two. But more than that, the work with Kyle has been thrilling – as I mentioned, Kyle is one of my favourite writers; the overriding feeling after reading ‘Spite & Malice’ was envy. I wished I’d written it. He is wise and creative and generous and holds fast to his values, so trading writing with him, waking up to his words, often being inspired and amazed and challenged, is something I will seriously treasure. It was a special way to start the day. Then we had Joshua join in on that – editing, sending cover ideas, talking literature. It almost makes no sense to me to write alone anymore.

I’ve written before on the best part of writing in the twenty-first century being the friends we make. This project just reinforces that. I hope you enjoy it.

On ‘Dead Man Poems I’

Very pleased to say some of my Dead Man poems have been published in the September 2019 issue of the ever-unorthodox RIC.

In this set, the Dead Man considers his options, regrets his recklessness and shares his wisdom. Crossing fingers that more on the Dead Man is to come…

Thanks as always to Saudamini for giving me the time and space and support to write. Especially in light of the fact that the “Related” portion of the page on RIC looks like this:

On ‘To Sing’

We'll Never Have Paris - Introduction by Andrew GallixVery pleased to have a short story titled ‘To Sing’ in We’ll Never Have Paris, a collection of writing on Paris edited by Andrew Gallix.

The collection includes some of my favourite writers, some talented folk I’ve worked with, and some friends, including Max Porter, Chris Power, Joanna Walsh, Eley Williams, Tom McCarthy, Susan Tomaselli, David Hayden, Daniela Cascella, Evan Lavender-Smith and many more. Needless to say, it’s a thrill to be a part of it.

Big thanks to Andrew for the call-up and opportunity.

Comment on 3:AM

I have resigned as co-editor-in-chief of 3:AM and ended my association with the magazine.

This was not an easy decision; 3:AM has been very, very good to me. I have worked with talented and passionate writers and publishers from around the world – some I now have the privilege of calling friends. I have interviewed authors I have long admired. Also, a number of publishing opportunities have come my way as a direct result of connections I have made through the magazine. My time at 3:AM has taught me much and was also a lot of fun.

3:AM is a passion project for everyone involved – no money changes hands in any direction. The masthead is filled with people who want to promote the discussion of a certain brand of literature and philosophy, and very often those who wrote for us enjoyed the creative freedom the site afforded them – to write about subjects they were passionate about in a form that did not make sense elsewhere. Usually my criteria for accepting a piece was: Is this 3:AM enough? The hard work that has been put into it simply cannot be quantified, and investing in something in this way makes it especially difficult to leave behind. I joined the team not as an academic or even as a “writer” at the time, but primarily as a reader. As such, the fact that we were publishing for an audience of, ultimately, passionate readers was always at the forefront of my own decision making at the journal.

Recent events have left me sad, angry and distressed – especially because none of it was something I was able to influence despite my role at the magazine. I don’t believe we responded sensibly as a collective to any of the criticisms levelled at us, and I also don’t think we addressed our audience when and how we needed to. I did my utmost to ensure that 3:AM was a respectable, authoritative and unique platform – this is how it was when I joined and I wish I could say this is how it was when I left.

I wish Andrew and the team all the best as they work to re-establish 3:AM.