"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Amis Strikes Again

Does Martin Amis have no friends who can have a quiet word with him? No sooner has he finished rubbishing that increasingly large and influential section of society, the elderly, who, he recently informed us "stink" (subtlety always his hallmark) than he turns his attention to his fellow writers. Prospect magazine in a preview of an interview it is about to publish with the Great Writer offers us a view of the second rate talents against whose mediocrity the talent of Amis shines out more brightly: "Coetzee, for instance—his whole style is predicated on transmitting absolutely no pleasure,” he explained. “I read one and I thought, he’s got no talent. But the denial of the pleasure principle has got a lot of followers.” How did we get here – to a world where Coetzee is declared to have no talent and Amis is fĂȘted? Answers on a postcard please.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A Poet Wins!

How nice that Christopher Reid's book A Scattering should win not only the Costa poetry award but also the overall Costa Book of the Year award. Poetry is often the poor relation of literary prizes (but the Costa, it must be said, has a better track record than most) so this is excellent news.

And I forgot to say, it's an excellent book of poetry!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Poetry Readings Are Cool OK?

One of my Christmas gifts this year was J. G Ballard's absorbing autobiography, Miracles of Life, which at one point presents his observations on poetry readings: "Most poets were products of English Literature schools, and showed it; poetry readings were a special form of social deprivation. In some rather dingy hall a sad little cult would listen to their cut-price shaman speaking in voices, feel their emotions vaguely stirred and drift away to a darkened tube station."

Tomorrow night, 14th January at 6.30, we have a chance to prove him wrong because Rack Press is launching its four new collections of poetry for 2010 at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury. With words like "cool" long back in fashion "groovy" must surely be the next to be retrieved from oblivion. Come along tonight. If not groovy it will be "fab" and we will prove Ballard wrong.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


I don't mean to be rude but when mid-Wales was covered in snow last week it somehow didn't seem to be as grave as when it actually fell in London – giving Gandhi in Tavistock Square, semi-naked on his plinth, a tonsure of white overnight. London and the south-east still think of themselves as the centre of the universe and until something occurs inside the M25 it's not judged a real event at all.

These sheep, however, in the Radnor Valley in the Welsh Marches, after most of it had melted, and before the second dose, don't seem offended.