You’ll see me and Stephen Fry, Paloma Faith, Derren Brown and Rupert Everett and Peter Tatchell trying to find out where we can buy a Rainbow Flag in very bad Russian. So that’s four gay men, a Gaiman and Paloma…
Tickets just went on sale for the Friday 4 July and Saturday 5 July, London Barbican performance of THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS: me reading, Eddie Campbell and his paintings and a wonderful musical accompaniment from the FourPlay String Quartet. http://t.co/BisQz6YJnf
If you are in the UK, and you are a member of the Barbican you can buy tickets tomorrow morning for the reading of my story, THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS on the 4th and 5th of July 2014. If you aren’t a member of the Barbican, you must wait until Friday morning to buy tickets.
THE TRUTH IS A CAVE… won the Locus Award for best Novelette, and the Shirley Jackson Award for best Novelette as well. Eddie Campbell is an amazing artist (and he co-hosts the evening with dry Scottishness) and the Four Play String Quartet are the most wonderful musicians.
I’ll read the story, while Eddie Campbell’s paintings are projected above me and the astonishing Four Play string quartet plays underscore music. We’ve done it twice before now, at a very sold out Sydney Opera House, where it was originally performed, and in Hobart to about 3,000 people at the MONA FOMA festival. Each time to very happy audiences.
(Photo of the rehearsal from Eddie Campbell’s blog, here.)
There will be the reading of the story (and paintings and music). There will be a Q and A. There’s other things that get read as well…
This will be its first ever performance in Europe. Two performances, I should say, as we are doing the Friday night and then the Saturday too.
Tickets go on sale to the general public (not Barbican members) on Friday morning at 10 am UK time. If the Fortunately The Milk* reading (which wound up like this) was anything to go by, the tickets will sell fast, so do not put off buying tickets until May.
Created and performed for a sell out crowd at Sydney Opera House’s world-renowned Graphic Festival, then repeated a year later for cutting edge festival Mona Foma in Tasmania, this haunting tale of adventure, revenge and treasure, told as a hybrid between a storyteller, an artist and a string quartet comes by popular demand to London for these two performances only. Tickets on sale to the public at 10am Friday 31 January What’s that you say? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could also perform it somewhere like San Francisco or New York…? Hmm. Let me think about that one.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
In 2011, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.
And it’s this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
And last year, I wrote:
It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
Hello, my name is Grace and I really want to do nothing more than be a writer but the only thing that I feel good writing are very melancholic suspense books and my parents don't think I should be writing such sad or borderline creepy story lines. What do you think I should do?
Let’s see, firstly, you are the only person who gets to decide what kind of things you write. Not your friends, your lovers, your parents, your children. You. Other people do not even get to vote. The art you make is not a democracy, nor are the stories you tell.
Secondly, and I tell you this because you might want to tell your parents… in my relatively wide experience, the single most depressed group of writers I’ve ever run into are comedians-who-write-their-own-material and funny writers. Not all of them are troubled and worried offstage, but a lot of them are: they look sad, haunted, and they seem to worry a lot about everything.
Horror writers on the other hand, seem almost terrifyingly happy, well-adjusted and cheerful. Perhaps they get it all out onto the page. But they are easy-going folk, who laugh at jokes (writers of humour rarely laugh at jokes. They nod, when a joke is made, and say “That’s funny,” flatly) and go on picnics and are very nice company if you can overlook their occasional tendency over dinner to discuss ways to dispose of inconveniently dead bodies.
So I would write whatever you want to write, Grace, and not worry about your parents.
Possible “Poorest Decision of the Year”: Listening to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer perform “Psycho” as I walked through the abandoned Tufts Athletic Complex at 12:45 am, my footsteps echoing off the wet pavement and brick, following me through the driveway to the street beyond.
London Below. Richard Mayhew finds himself in a mysterious subterranean world
The first episode of BBC Radio 4’s Neverwhere, starring James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Anthony Stuart Head, Sir Christopher Lee, Bernard Cribbins, and oh, lots of people, went out today, which means you have 7 days left to listen to it, wherever you are. (It’s at the bottom of the page.)
(The next 5 episodes will go out over the next 5 days.) You can listen to NEVERWHERE anywhere in the world using a desktop/laptop computer.
If you are using a tablet or mobile device you can still listen but you’ll need a radio app like TuneIn Radio
Fantasy reigns supreme as The Ocean at the End of the Lane gets the publicâs vote Neil Gaiman became the author of Britainâs favourite book today, as his contemporary fantasy The Ocean at the End of the Lane was named Specsavers Book of the Year for 2013. Neil was crowned overall victor by the public […]
Thank you to everyone who made THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE the book of the year…
In podcast 170 of Notes from Coode street, Neil Gaiman says that while Lafferty is one of the all time greats, some of his novels are impenetrable (not bad, but inward-focused). I've many of his short stories, as well as 'Reefs of Earth' and 'Space Chantey,' and loved all of it. Do you agree with Gaiman -- or would you be willing to recommend some of his novels over others?
I don’t agree with “impenetrable,” but I do agree that some of the novels get very opaque because of the sheer difficulty of the concepts he’s trying to address, and also because of how little they resemble the novels of almost any other writer. This happens more often toward the later end of his career—Not to Mention Camels is notoriously troublesome, and Arrive at Easterwine seems to elude a lot of people—but it’s evident even as early as Past Master and Fourth Mansions.
Lafferty himself believed that his short stories were better but that his novels had more to say, and I think he harbored a hope that readers would come around to his novels and reconsider them in time—I think if anything he undersold them, and that there’s a huge amount to be learned from reading his longer, more difficult works. However, I’d hardly recommend starting with them.
The best and most important Lafferty novel is Okla Hannali, a view of the 19th century from the perspective of one larger-than-life Choctaw. But beyond that, if you’ve got Reefs and Space Chantey (and Past Master and Fourth Mansions and Easterwine) then you’ve already got a good foundation, so I’d recommend diving into a trio of excellent novels he wrote in the early 80s: Annals of Klepsis, about a pirate planet with no history; East of Laughter, about the death of the Scribbling Giants who write all the world’s history; Serpent’s Egg, about a group of super-intelligent children trying to survive (or possibly bring about) the apocalypse. You might also try the easily available volume Apocalypses, which includes two challenging and enormously fun novels: the spy thriller/farce Where Have You Been, Sandaliotis? and the murderously operatic alt-history The Three Armageddons of Enniscorthy Sweeny.
On the deeper end, there’s Aurilia, which details the advent and preaching of a Camiroi girl on Earth; Not to Mention Camels, which shows the development and corruption of a media icon across various modes of existence; and the Dana Coscuin tetralogy: The Flame Is Green; Half a Sky; plus two as-yet-unpublished volumes.
And then, preeminent among all of these, the Argo Legend books: Archipelago (itself a manageable and fascinating novel); The Devil Is Dead (difficult, but a surprisingly common intro book); and More Than Melchisedech (possibly the deepest waters of all—plus plenty of other texts assorted with it, including what might be his simplest, most straightforward and yet thoroughly devastating book, Dotty.
I’ll write about all of these in time, but to cut all this short: yes, all the novels are worth reading, and yes, some of them are more immediately comprehensible than others. But as with all great authors—Joyce with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, Woolf with To the Lighthouse or Mrs Dalloway, Faulkner with The Sound of Fury, Pynchon with Gravity’s Rainbow, etc. etc.—the most challenging works are often the most rewarding, once there’s a foundation in place to begin grappling with them.