Via Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris.
I think about Adrian Chiles’s cock more than is strictly necessary — which is pretty obviously: at all, unless you happen to be Adrian Chiles, his sexual partner, or his doctor (should Chiles be afflicted with a disease affecting his cock).
I didn’t even really know who Chiles was much before I acquired this problem – I had a vague idea he was a television and radio presenter, but since I don’t watch the former, and don’t listen to the radio station he broadcasts on, Chiles wasn’t in my world.
I did vaguely know he was in a relationship with Kath Viner, the editor of the Guardian, because I’d read a couple of columns he’d written for the paper that were such utter flim-flam (Wilde described wit as “the epitaph of an emotion”, and by extension, Chiles’s efforts are the epitaph of cogitation), that their presence in the paper was only explicable if his cock were in some way involved. Clearly, Ms Viner – if we accept the idea that she’s an even halfway decent newspaper editor – must be blinded by Chiles’s cock to at least this extent.
Read the rest here …
Will is going to be at the Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival at the Amelia Scott, 7pm Saturday May 13 taking up some of the arguments he put forward in his latest book, Why Read, a collection of essays on writing and literature.
A review of Solenoid by Mircea Cartarescu in the Nation.
I thought my anti-monarchy feelings had become fairly torpid in recent years – there’s been so much to be unhappy and discontented about … But the slavish response of the British press and public to the Queen’s death, followed by an equally servile and sententious one to the publication of ‘Spare’ made me realise an important thing: no one seemed capable any more of framing their response to these royal ructions within an assumed – and profound – critique of the institution itself … Yet polling consistently shows that a third of the British population remain obstinately unhappy with our much-lauded – and ineffable – constitutional settlement … After the Queen died, my voice was deemed unacceptable in Britain – I wrote two pieces for the foreign press, in the US and France – and only now am I able to write for British readers of The New European what I truly think and feel: the Queen is dead – and let’s try to keep it that way …’
A new collection of Will’s non-fiction writing (following on from Junk Mail and Feeding Frenzy), Why Read: Selected Writings 2001-2021, is published by Grove Press in the UK on November 3, and by Grove Atlantic in the US on January 17 2023 – a cornucopia of thoughtful and brilliantly witty essays on writing and literature.
“Sharp, trenchant essays from an enfant terrible of modern letters…. Self effortlessly weaves his way from such lighthearted topics as shelves, the “very lynchpins of a form of bourgeois domesticity,” to a lengthy, dark, autobiographical piece on W.G. Sebald and the role of the Holocaust in his writing as well as an unfortunately timely piece about his visit to “coruscating” Pripyat, near Chernobyl, at the same time as the Fukushima disaster. …Plenty to ponder in this energetic, opinionated collection.” – Kirkus Reviews (for full review go here).
Why Read events:
Falmouth Book Festival, October 22
How To event at the Art Workers Guild in London, November 7
Blackwell’s Oxford, November 10
Brighthelm Centre, Brighton, November 11
Folkestone Festival, November 26
Will is going to be in conversation with Henry Eliot about Thomas de Quincey (Confessions of an English Opium Eater) and William S. Burroughs (Junky) in Soho for the new series of the podcast On the Road with Penguin Classics released on September 29. Listen to the trailer here.
Read Will’s opinion piece on the monarchy at the Daily Beast.
Join Will for two Masterclasses delivered live and in-person at the Arvon Live Writing Day this Sunday from 9.30am at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Will and Amy Liptrot will share some of their own methods of exploring an area – on foot, in words – and give you a chance to try them out. Do places have their own voices? Do they carry memories? How can we as writers tune into and translate them? You will consider what makes successful place writing as well as what makes you an individual.
There will be opportunities to be inspired by the landscape of Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley as well as places from your own experience and imagination: town or city, island or forest, kitchen or carpark, map or cloud.
For more details and booking, visit the Arvon website.
“Arguably, never in the decline and fall of the avant-garde had so few sold out for so much so quickly. From 1997, when the Royal Academy daringly mounted the Sensation exhibition, in less than five years, the likes of Hirst, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn et al., went from maybe scandalising to definitely cashing in: far more than the Britpop bands, it’s these lite – and often quite high – artists who personified the Blair era, with its serious comfort when it came to being seriously rich sugar-wrapped in social conscience.”