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First, you had better get past the youth part. It’s not clever and it’s not nice.

In photographs, be almost but not quite unsmiling. This shows you are relatable, yet have not failed to grasp the perilous nature of existence.

Look out for the clearing in the woods.

These days I find it hard to experience intense emotion unless there’s a car crash. Some say we lack a sophisticated vocabulary for parsing the felt experience of literature, the range of its emotional effects. I say we lack car crashes.

If you can’t make it to the end of the page, it’s a poem.

(This is important when you’re being paid by the line.)

I am typing this from my rooftop Jacuzzi. Feel the moisture on my lower lip. The laptop screen steams up; sheds a periodic condensation tear.

Then they came for the adjectives.

Ghosts make the best narrators, followed closely by dogs. They are too lonely to sleep and are always watchful. They know people by the smell of their knees.

Just as well you don’t write to make friends.

At book parties, never eat the canapes. Ask yourself instead who made the canapes: what was their secret motivation? Here, have a napkin.

Research is a spell where you fall asleep for a hundred years and the thorns sprout about your salty guts like a sea urchin.

The ‘I’ is an ideological imposture. You might as well get yourself a Batman-closet of identical black polo necks.

When they ask whether the bit about your dying father / savagely beaten old donkey / asteroid mining programme really happened like that, the answer is yes.

Please stop writing to me, thought Rilke.

Remember, you can be deranged if you want to be.

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Young Writer of the Year Award is a prize of £10,000 for a writer under 35.

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