EDitorial ± 28-Mar-2012

Blake Morrison, UCS

To that checkerboard UCS on the waterfront for a lecture by a big name, none other than Blake Morrison. Who he? Well, you may remember him for a memoir about his dad called "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" The book picked up a couple of awards but also, crucically, was made into a film with that Colin Firth playing BM. For menfolk, that's living the dream.

Another reason for being jealous of Blake is that he has the title "professor", being Prof. of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. He's also a Visiting Prof at UCS, which is nice, and perhaps explains the effusive 10 minute introduction that he's given by the provost and chief exec. Sit down, fella, and let the man talk. Points touched on included:

  • writing isn't necessarily about getting published; it can be enriching, cathartic, and even therapeutic
  • reading a book with a tough subject, like Alone In Berlin, can make you feel better
  • The Reader Organisation encourages people to read aloud: prose, not Prozac
  • 1 in 5 librarians lost their job last year
  • easier, quicker and cheaper to download a book than wait for delivery
  • he's grateful to former editors for suggested titles, changes of ordering, etc.
  • more small publishers, rise of book clubs, even Richard and Judy are all encouraging signs

All that said, I'm not convinced that he's firmly on the side of new technology, most clearly identified with the Kindle. Maybe I should have seen that coming when his "official" website is still looking forward to the May 2010 publication of The Last Weekend, currently being filmed up near Southwold. Yes, he's got an iPad, but still used A4 notes for the talk. Anyway: bonus points for the casual mention that he'd once interviewed Ted Hughes.