This blog will mainly focus on writing and different kinds of narrative art. I’ll discuss fiction: novels, short stories, film, drama, memoir and lots of other forms. I’ll probably also write a lot about music. No doubt I’ll mention Bob Dylan too much. I’ll talk about thi wurd, our forthcoming publications and events. (Our events are taking place online at the moment.) This will be a space to keep people updated on where we are in terms of putting out our magazine, what’s going to be in the magazine, and the books we’re editing and planning to publish.

At the moment we are working on the production of two new books by James Kelman to be published this autumn. These books are What I do (Memoirs) and Tales of Here & Then. It’s a privilege to be the publisher of these titles, and we need to get everything right in terms of quality of production, promotion and selling. I’ll keep people updated on our progress throughout the summer and into autumn as we move towards the launch.

My job for the past twenty years has been teaching creative writing and literature at the University of Glasgow. In this blog I’m going to revisit many of my notes from those years that look at topics like voice, character, dialogue, narration, perspective, structure, editing and more. I’ll reference passages from a range of fiction to illustrate my points. I’ll recommend novels and stories that I think should be read: many will be obscure books that I believe deserve more credit. I’ll also wander off at points, and people can skip the parts where I go on about a new Bob Dylan release (warning: a new Dylan album is coming out this Friday, on June 19th 2020).

I’ll write about artistic sensibilities and processes. How do writers develop their sensibilities? What do great literary artists say about their processes? What’s it like to be a human being, exisiting within shifting societies and cultures, and yet write or make art? What it’s like to get up in the morning and go for a walk with a head full of music, thoughts, ideas, fears, loves, hates, art, literature, maybe feeling inspired, maybe not, and try to create? And all this while the clock ticks.

This won’t be about how to get published, or how to make money, or how to become a ‘successful’ writer. We’ll go deeper than that, into more absorbing places. Somehow without consciously trying to, I’ll build a narrative on fiction writing. I hope it will be a resource for those interested in writing their own fiction. Hopefully it will be a different approach. A practical approach. But also abstract and aesthetic.

Alan McMunnigall