I’m writing a novel. Yes, another one. My
first one is currently sitting unpublished in ametaphorical sock drawer, as all first novels should for a time. One day
I will take it out, dust it off and take another look, and possibly cringe, or
maybe even re-consider and re-submit it.
In the meantime I have an MA in Creative Writing
to complete. My final piece of work for the course is a novel: The Shakespeare Girl. As
part of the project I’ve set up a website to accompany the novel, which you can
look at here. I will be adding various reviews, images, news items and guest posts
to the site over the coming weeks, and eventually I will post an extract or two
from the novel itself.
The opening quotation above, as you might
know, is taken from Shakespeare’s tombstone. If we believe, as many do, that
these words are amongst the last ones written by the playwright himself, they
reveal an anxiety about exhumation which also makes an appearance in sixteen of
his thirty-seven surviving plays. When I first read about this peculiar obsession,
I was intrigued. I began to read about the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare
is buried, and discovered that the building sits right on the riverbank,
hovering over the waters of the Avon, and that it is in some state of dilapidation.
Erosion, disrepair … a thought occurred to
me: What would happen if you had to dig up
That was the starting point for a story,
which I decided to people with characters whose lives are somehow connected to
the Bard: a professor, a student, an actress… In homage to Angela Carter’s Wise Children, I also decided to include
some type of reference –obvious, oblique, or somewhere in between – to every Shakespeare
play in the course of the book. Not to be clever – I’m learning about
Shakespeare as I go – but to try and neatly dramatise the way in which
Shakespeare infiltrates our daily lives, often without us knowing.
So, whenever time permits, I’m working away at
the novel. The plot, I think, is decided. The characters, I hope, are beginning
to come off the page. It’s ambitious, hopefully funny, certainly accessible,
and I can’t wait to finish it.
If you’d like to get in touch about my
writing, or about anything Shakespearean, or better still, if you’d like to contribute
something to my website, then I’d love to hear from you, at this address here. If
you’re on Twitter I also have a dedicated account to follow, here.