News & Blog

The Letter of Forgiveness – a powerful reading from Sarah Walton’s The Silk Pavilion

  A clear highlight of our online launch of The Silk Pavilion was Sarah’s powerful reading of The Letter of Forgiveness. Lucy makes it her mission to translate this mysterious scrap of paper, written by the grandmother of Miguel. Thanks to Keith Waithe, who’s composition for The Silk Pavilion begins …

Writer’s block and how to overcome it – D.D. Johnston on lessons learned from his novel DISNAELAND

    D.D. tells us that his creative journey with Disnaeland began in 2014, and was marred by writer’s block until the birth of his son in 2020. For this project, the symptoms of writer’s block were often external. The idea of Disnaeland originally came from the early 2010s’ cultural …

Richard Zimler’s Inspiration for The Lost Gospel of Lazarus

    Richard Zimler’s inspiration for The Lost Gospel of Lazarus came to him in a troubling, reoccurring dream. In this dream, his brother who’d recently died from AIDS returned to him. It made Richard think that there’d been some mistake – that he hadn’t really died. Except, Richard soon …

Martin Goodman on the inspiration for his novel On Bended Knees

  Martin Goodman tells us about his inspiration for On Bended Knees, his novel that went on to be nominated for a Whitbread First Novel Prize, a predecessor of the Costa First Novel Award. Martin admits that he has a tendency to write the ‘remarkable’. Indeed, On Bended Knees in …

How does a writer create rounded characters? D.D. Johnston on his novel DISNAELAND

  D.D. Johnston tells us about how he fleshed out his characters and gave them nuance in Disnaeland. He admits that at first, his characters were mostly satirical. It was his editor that encouraged him to flesh them out. To create these characters, D.D. drew on aspects of himself – …

Where does a writer get her inspiration? Sarah Walton on the origin of her novel The Silk Pavilion

  Sarah Walton’s inspiration for The Silk Pavilion came from many sources: staying in an eerie villa during a thunderstorm in Mallorca; thoughts about the novel Rebecca under a modern lens; the concept of creating intrigue about serial killers and the history of the Spanish Civil War – these are …

Full Recording – A deep dive into The Lost Gospel of Lazarus with Richard Zimler

  Back in April, Barbican Press partnered with Paper-Works Books & Print to host an online event to launch Richard Zimler’s The Lost Gospel of Lazarus. Here’s the full recording – Richard is interviewed by George Biggs about the book’s inspiration, his writing and research process and much more. It’s …

Sarah Walton on national vs personal trauma in her novel The Silk Pavilion

    The Silk Pavilion explores the buried trauma of a woman and Spain’s Civil War simultaneously. Here, Sarah speaks about their powerful thematic interplay. Sarah aligns personal trauma and national trauma through language, particularly the language of torture and war. Sarah also used specific historical references. For example, during …

What your own novel can teach you about writing – D. D. Johnston on Disnaeland

  Disnaeland has taught D.D. Johnston that he’s unashamedly sentimental. This truth is at the heart of his not-so-wee novel. He dwells on gentle moments, such as the last time his characters turn off an electric light. In short, Disnaeland taught him that he has a stubborn belief in the …

How to stay safe when you use your own life material in a novel – Sarah Walton & The Silk Pavilion

  Sarah Walton speaks about drawing on her own life material in her novel The Silk Pavilion, using emotions from lived experiences, and real life exercises to get into the psyche of her characters. The Silk Pavilion was an especially intense emotional writing experience, but Sarah reminds us that a writer …

D. D. Johnston on writing in Scots dialect in his new novel Disnaeland

    In this clip, D.D. Johnston explores the nature of writing in non-standard English, the way characters would actually speak.  a native of Edinburgh, he speaks about writing in a Scottish venacular, and its place in his novel Disnaeland. Disnaeland is set in the fictional Scottish town of Dundule, …

Five books that help you find light in dark times

D.D. Johnston’s Disnaeland is a rare beast of a novel: it takes the stuff of the apocalypse and makes you laugh. Dystopian stories, like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, lead readers into ever-darkening times. Disnaeland starts with the premise that life on earth is already pretty shitty: when the crisis comes, …

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