Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison is professor of creative and life writing at Goldsmiths. Two Sisters, a memoir, will be published next year.

There​ is a terrific photo of A.E. Coppard on Brighton racecourse one Sunday morning in 1901. Dressed in running gear (white shorts, sleeveless vest, bare feet in leather running shoes so thin they look more like ballet pumps), he’s down on his haunches, leaning forward, waiting for the starting gun. There are no competing runners nearby; he was obviously posing for the camera. But the...

Prowled and Yowled: Kay Dick

Blake Morrison, 12 May 2022

Among the victims​ of Alex and his droogs in A Clockwork Orange is an author living in a country cottage. They don’t just do him over but tear up the pages of the book he has been typing out, ‘so that the writer veck started to platch like his life’s work was ruined’. The gangs in Kay Dick’s They (first published in 1977, fifteen years after Burgess’s...

Always Somewhere Else: Anuk Arudpragasam

Blake Morrison, 4 November 2021

Aswell as survivor’s guilt there is the guilt of the non-combatant – the shame of missing out, a feeling experienced even by those who, for reasons of age, could never have taken part. The interwar generation of British writers (those, like Auden and Isherwood, too young to serve in the First World War) suffered from this. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, their main...

Motherly Protuberances: Simon Okotie

Blake Morrison, 9 September 2021

‘Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged,’ Virginia Woolf wrote, disparaging the kind of fiction associated with Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy and H.G. Wells. It’s a proposition that might appeal to Simon Okotie. But before deciding whether it has merit he would want to see whether an apparently symmetrical arrangement of gig-lamps might not, on close...

Why do it, Sarah? ‘The Glass Kingdom’

Blake Morrison, 18 March 2021

Aprivileged Westerner​ arrives in a foreign country – for a jaunt or a holiday or to escape the past. Through a naive or arrogant disregard for the indigenous culture, he or (just as often) she runs into serious trouble, implicated in a death for which, eventually, a debt must be paid. The setting is luxurious, the lifestyle hedonistic, the climate oppressively hot. Prodigious amounts...

Taking Flight: Blake Morrison

Thomas Jones, 7 September 2000

Towards the end of And When Did You Last See your Father? (1993), Blake Morrison says:Stand them up against grief, and even the greatest poems, the greatest paintings, the greatest novels...

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Boxes of Tissues

Hilary Mantel, 6 March 1997

Blake Morrison begins his account of the murder of James Bulger with a delicate diversion into the story of the Children’s Crusade. The year 1212: at Saint-Denis, a boy of 12 begins to...

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The Synaptic Years

Jenny Diski, 24 June 1993

It’s a race against time, but, as this century totters to its close, we might, in the final few years, catch up with the arithmetic and discover that it’s the 20th century we’ve...

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Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

In 1972 the final issue of Ian Hamilton’s Review was given over to a symposium on ‘The State of Poetry’. Only fifteen years on, it has the flavour of a yellowed historical...

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Players, please

Jonathan Bate, 6 December 1984

The Great War was the war of the great war poets. Was ‘the war to end all wars’ also the war to end all war poetry? The best part of Jon Stallworthy’s introduction to his Oxford...

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Social Arrangements

John Bayley, 30 December 1982

‘New’ poetry can mean two things. When Ezra Pound said ‘make it new’ he was willing the advent of Modernism, the birth of a consciousness transformed by the...

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Marilyn Butler, 2 September 1982

It is a current preoccupation on the Left, more fashionable now among many students of English than Post-Structuralism, that English Literature as an academic subject is a conspiracy of the...

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It seemed to be happening only yesterday, but Blake Morrison was born in 1950, and for him the Movement is something you have to work on in a library. So it suddenly comes to seem rather remote,...

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