A defence of storytelling: John Burnside’s Ashland & Vine and the visual arts

There are often references to the visual arts in John Burnside's novels. In The Locust Room (2001) the photography of Raymond Moore stands for the kind of vision that the main character tries to achieve. In A Summer of Drowning (2011), the focus shifts to painting. The main character's mother is a famous painter and … Continue reading A defence of storytelling: John Burnside’s Ashland & Vine and the visual arts

Talk on climate crisis narratives (OSL Ravenstein seminar on ecocriticism)

In January 2017 I gave a talk for the OSL Ravenstein Seminar on ecocriticism. It was based on a chapter in my forthcoming book, Climate Crisis and the Twenty-First-Century British Novel, about climate crisis narratives. I talked about the ways in which a sense of immediacy is created in Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) and The … Continue reading Talk on climate crisis narratives (OSL Ravenstein seminar on ecocriticism)

“Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain” – Christmas songs in the Anthropocene

Listening to yet another Christmas song last week, I wondered about the mismatch between the weather we sing about ā€“ snow ā€“ and that which we experience: unusually warm temperatures and rain, at least this year. I assumed that the songs had fit in better at one time with Christmas weather. "Jingle Bells" was written … Continue reading “Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain” – Christmas songs in the Anthropocene

Announcing Climate Crisis and the 21st-century British Novel

I'm fascinated by how we talk about nature and how we imagine it. Contemporary stories about nature are the topic of my new book, Climate Crisis and the 21st-century British Novel. The way we think about nature goes beyond new nature writing or documentaries of the kind that became popular after Al Gore's An Inconvenient … Continue reading Announcing Climate Crisis and the 21st-century British Novel