Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison is professor of creative and life writing at Goldsmiths. Two Sisters, a memoir, is out now.

Novelists​ don’t usually care for screen adaptations of their work. But the film versions of Atonement, The Remains of the Day and The English Patient do no great disservice to the books. And Colm Tóibín wasn’t unhappy with Nick Hornby’s screenplay for Brooklyn, despite two big changes to the ending. In the novel, when the insidious Enniscorthy shopkeeper Miss...

The success​ of Paul Harding’s first novel, Tinkers (2009), is the kind of good luck story worth passing on to any dispirited author. When Cold Water Flat, the band he drummed with in the 1990s, broke up after touring the US and Europe, he studied creative writing at the University of Iowa, under the tutelage of (among others) Marilynne Robinson. The novel he spent the next decade...

Richard Ford​ is sceptical about character. He thinks it changeable, provisional, unpredictable, irresolute and ‘decidedly unwhole’, which makes things tricky for a novelist. You send a man to see his girlfriend in the expectation that she’ll dump him and she tells him how sweet he is. You don’t know where you are with people. They don’t know where they are...

Jon Fosse​ doesn’t use sentences, or prefers not to end them. When you open Septology, with its smallish print and narrow margins, it can feel like a death sentence – all the more so since the book, much possessed with death, runs to more than eight hundred pages. There are no paragraphs or full stops here. Fosse has called the writing ‘slow prose’ and it lingers on...

Oops, I’m trapped: ‘Tomb of Sand’

Blake Morrison, 6 October 2022

Ma,​ as everyone calls her, is exasperating to her family. Eighty years old and recently widowed, she refuses to get out of bed. Despite the entreaties of her son Bade (in whose Delhi house she lives), and pleas from her daughter Beti, daughter-in-law Bahu and grandson Sid, she lies with her face to the wall, as if readying herself for death. After 170 pages of inactivity, she’s more...

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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Moments

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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