November 2016/ Photo essay / reading time: 17 minutes (4300 words + lots of photos)
It’s 1999. I’m 25 years old. I’m living in Dublin and trying to be a screenwriter. I want to have my first feature film made by the age of 26, because I’ve heard that was Tarantino’s age when he got Reservoir Dogs made. But my life’s about to change course forever.
October 2016/ writing and living advice / reading time: 19 minutes (4800 words)
I’m obsessed with the body and how it guides or obstructs me in my writing. So I got ten amazing writers to tell me about their bodily experiences during 8 stages of writing a first draft. I told the writers that I’d write it all up in this blog post. I got everything back from them, fascinating stuff, but there was one problem – I had no idea how to write it up. I was stuck.
September 2016/ True crime / reading time: 14 minutes (3460 words)
The librarian saw the outsider approach Ulla out of nowhere and ask her a question. The outsider asked Ulla if she wanted to hear a story. She said yes. Two months later Ulla was dead.
August 2016/ literary parody /reading time: 15 minutes (3750 words)
After last month’s essay on reading Stephen King’s Carrie as an 11 year old, this month’s longform blog about Enid Blyton is not an obvious follow up, except in the sense that it’s also about parenting and children’s books. In this blog I ask, what would Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books would be like if they were comprehensively revised to reflect contemporary, risk-averse, protective, middle-class parenting? And what beer would George drink if she couldn’t get her hands on ginger beer?
July 2016 /Essay – Memoir / Reading time: 7 minutes (1760 words)
18th September, 2017: Note: Dear reader, this old blogpost is getting a lot of hits these days due to the release of IT and due to parents (and other adults in caring roles) wondering if children should read that book. While this blogpost tells my specific story of reading Stephen King’s Carrie when I was ‘too young’, I hope it might also demonstrate why, for some children, it’s appropriate to read books that weren’t written with them as the target audience. I hope it’s useful to you and I think it’s great that you’re out there trying to support and assist your children in making postive reading choices. Good luck! Oran.
I am in a second hand bookshop in Dublin near my cousin’s house. The lurid cover of Stephen King’s first novel catches my eye. I’ve heard about it. It’s meant to be the most terrifying book ever written. I’ve got to have it. I pay the princely sum of 75 pence and it’s mine. I’m 11 years old.
Me at 11!
Me at 42, well, not quite…
June 2016 / Memoir – essay / Reading time: 5 minutes (1200 words)
I support the #Coverkidsbooks campaign. It’s not only out of self interest – I am after all a children’s fiction writer aspiring for publication – or because I love reading children’s fiction or because I want help finding books for my own children. I support it because finding the right kids books helped me through some difficulties in my childhood. Continue reading