Slipstreaming Eagleton and selling your soul
Any spiders interested?

Not so much a bloggy week as a giggy one

Considering I'd assumed I was in something of a lull between books, I'm actually slightly busy on the author-in-public front, which is why I've been neglecting the blog. Despite my grumbling about the business (and I do mean business) of selling one's authorly personality and experience, as opposed to selling my books, I really enjoy the readings-and-signings side of it, because that (and the comments here) is when I actually meet people who've read my work: that's when you really feel that what you've been saying is being heard.

On Saturday I went to a conference at the University of Bedford on postgraduate creative writing: What is it? Is it inherently a paradox to try to create art in the academy? And lots of conversations about what-does-your-PhD-involve-then? The answers to the last question were interesting not just by way of swapping traveller's tales, but becausethe ideas - and regulations - of what constitutes a CW PhD are very varied, and so what we have to do is very varied too. Some fine arguments broke out over the coffee and sandwiches, which is just as it should be.

Then this evening I was at writLOUD, combining the launch of the Birkbeck MA's first published graduates, and a celebration of five years of writLOUD, which as well as showcasing Birkbeck and friends also supports Oxfam. There was great work read by Sally Hinchcliffe, Niki Aguirre and Matthew Loukes (can't find a link, I'm afraid) in the bar of RADA, which is a very nice and rather glamorous space compared to the hallowed but worn 1930s look that I remember from auditioning there, many years ago. For once, too, it had an excellent sound system: trust a theatre to do that properly! As is the way, I went with Debi Alper from Bloggers With Book Deals, joined up by pre-arrangement with another writing friend, and promptly bumped into a fourth BWBDer, (Sally's one too), Sarah Salway, someone I met on Saturday, and several other people I know. The writing world's a small one.

That was, if you like, past and present. As far as future's concerned, next is the quarterly Pipe and Slippers, a delightful Sunday afternoon of poetry, prose, acoustic music, chocolate cake and full bar, all in a Victorian pub in Nunhead in South East London. The next one is on Sunday 1st June, doors open at 3pm, and among a varied bill, I'll be reading from The Mathematics of Love and A Secret Alchemy. So if you fancy dropping by (all the details of how to get there are on their website) do come and say hello.