Happiness is Possible : A review

Happiness is Possible
By Oleg Zaionchkovsky
Translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield
Published by And Other Stories
Reviewed by Jessica Patient

Zaionchkovsky’s book Happiness is Possible may sound like a self-help book but you would be wrong. Here is Zaionchkovsky’s love letter to the biggest love of his life - Moscow. Happiness is Possible is a series of interlinked short stories revolving around the life of an unnamed writer, living in his beloved Moscow as he searches for contentment within his own life and those around him.

Interview: Romy Wood

Romy Wood Interview
by Shanta Everington

Romy Wood gained a BEd from Homerton College Cambridge in 1995, and spent ten years teaching in secondary schools, where as Head of Drama she staged productions from Macbeth to Les Mis. In 2006, she gained a distinction in the MA at Cardiff University in 'The Teaching & Practice of Creative Writing' and continued to write under a bursary from Academi. She was a lecturer in Life Writing at UWIC and now teaches Creative Writing for the Open University and facilitates therapeutic writing groups. Her first novel, Bamboo Grove, was published by Alcemi in October 2010. Romy lives in Cardiff with her husband and three children.

Hello Romy and welcome to The View From Here. Let's kick off with me asking you when you first knew you wanted to be 'a writer'?

I’ve always liked stories and I wrote as a child, and read a lot too of course. Then I shifted my attentions to Drama and Theatre, which is a physical, visual version of the same thing. It was reading that brought me back to writing; that wonderful, frustrating feeling when you read a book that makes you wish you’d written it.

In Search of a Breakwater by J. K. Fox.

by J. K. Fox
illustration: Bradley Wind

It’s the old question: “if you had a million pounds what would you do with it? How would you change your life?” My friend and I were sitting on a beach near Edinburgh, wrapped up against the springtime wind and ogling the brave souls with no shoes on, dabbling in the surf. Having exhausted the conversation potential of “how fast does hypothermia set in”, that million-dollar question arose with comfortable familiarity.

It was a familiarity, however, that had matured alongside our minds, leaving behind the younger years of answering with long lists of purchases, projected freedoms presented to us by such a large sum. Now it struck me with alarming freshness that I could honestly turn to my friend and say “you know, I wouldn’t change much about my life”. I’m no Pollyanna, it is true that I would settle my debts, fly my family around the world, and I’ll admit there is an indefensibly expensive pair of jeans out there with my name on it. However what I meant was, money wouldn’t change the way I am pursuing writing. Neither cash, nor a change in circumstance, can alter the fact that at the root of my days sits an irrevocable love of writing.

The Best Litfest in the West - Penzance Literary Festival

Reader Logo The Best Litfest in the West - Penzance Literary Festival
25th-29th July 2012
by Catherine McNamara

I set off from Victoria Station on a sticky night after a plate of noodles. Friends told me I would fall in love with Penzance, that I would adore the enchanting coast and devour Cornish pasties and excellent fish and chips.

But as drove I was concerned about something quite different: my appearance on Day Three of the impressive Litfest programme, where I would be interviewed by writer Sarah Duncan with fellow debut author Liz Fenwick. Would I find anything to say on our topic 'How Did I Get Here?' Would I stutter? Stumble? Or ramble on and bore the audience to tears?

Day One of the three-year-young Festival kicked off with a lively session with Patron Patrick Gale, whose latest novel 'A Perfectly Good Man', set deep in Cornwall, tells the story of the marred goodness of one man. Patrick enthralled the crowd and set the bar rather high!

Stronger Faster Fitter : Luton Book Festival 2012

Once again The View From Here magazine is working with Luton Culture to help put on The Luton Book Festival 2012 and this year it's even bigger and better than before!  We have from the crew here ... drum roll please ...

Jane Turley
Shanta Everington
Mike French ( whoever he is ? )
& Jonathan Pinnock

And we will be running workshops, chairing an author panel and hosting an audience with Stephen Kelman.

So if you would like to hear a local author who made the Booker shortlist last year, an A-star line up of crime authors, a workshop on getting published, or you want to learn how to blog, attend a workshop on poetry or you need help to unleash your inner storyteller with Jonathan, then get yourself booked in now whilst there are still tickets.  

For a full list of what's on at the festival click here ...


 And for more information and to book tickets click on the image of your choice below.

Book Review: Isabel's Skin by Peter Benson

Isabel's Skin
by Peter Benson
Publisher: Alma Books
Review: Megan Taylor

Isabel’s Skin starts, as so much great gothic fiction does, with an invitation to the reader to hear the narrator’s confession.

I know what I have seen and will tell you about the places I have been, and how they have brought me to this place and state, but that is all I will tell you. There are some things I like to be private about, and I will be.

This retrospective framework is the tantalising equivalent of pulling an armchair to the hearthside before the ghost story begins, and despite the protestations of reticence by protagonist, David Morris, the novel’s first pages rapidly grow dark with a foreshadowing that nonetheless barely hints at the madness to come...